City of Girls - A glamorous story of heartbreak
Every so often, you read a book and become completely consumed by it. When I read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, I was addicted to her portrayal of a 1940's New York. Elizabeth Gilbert receives so much praise for her writing and this novel was an incredible introduction for me to one of my new favourite writers.
Vivian Morris is a bored 19-year old who arrives in New York after being exiled by her parents. She comes to work in her aunt's theatre and showcases her talents as a seamstress, whilst becoming immersed in the world of debauchery, glamour, sex and recklessness. We follow Vivian through different decades of her life and explore her relationships with others, heartbreak, friendships and coming-of-age.
I don't think I would even have this book on a number rating, it completely blew me away but if I have to give it a number it would be a complete 5/5 for me.
The world-building in this book is flawless. From what I understand Elizabeth Gilbert did a lot of research into the world of theatre during the 40's - this is completely reflected in the novel. Not only that but Gilbert somehow manages to turn relatively unlikeable characters into people you root for, sympathise with and understand a lot more.
Vivian, the novel's protagonist is as reckless, as reckless comes. She runs through life on a complete tirade, unafraid of who or what is in her way. That is of course, until it comes back and, pleasantly put, bites her in the arse. This book explores how we deal with the mistakes that we make, what friendship means and I think one of the key themes in this book is loneliness.
I won't spoil the end but it crushed me. Despite Vivian being her eldest at the end of the book, I saw a young girl who was afraid of being alone.
Overall, this story is one that is quite heart-breaking but it is dressed in the most glamorous, glitzy attire. This book will dazzle you just before it crushes you.
"Anyway, at some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is".
'"I'm disappointed in everybody," she said after a long silence. "In who, exactly?" I was thinking she would say the Nazis. "The adults," she said. "All of them. How did they let the world get so out of control?"
"After a certain age, we are all walking around this world in bodies made of secrets and shame and sorrow and old, unhealed injuries. Our hearts grow sore and misshapen around all this pain - yet somehow, still, we carry on."
I would love to hear your thoughts on this book if you have read it! Come and chat with me on any of the social's below.