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City of Girls: A Novel (191 GRAND) Hardcover – June 4, 2019

4.4 out of 5 stars 13,721 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of June 2019: It’s 1940 and good-time gal Vivian Morris has just been expelled from Vassar, but she doesn’t much mind. Her parents, on the other hand, are less than thrilled, so they dispatch their dawdling daughter to New York to live with her aunt Peg—the charismatic proprietor of a past-its-prime theater that is home to a quirky, cobbled-together family of thespians and showgirls (whom you will genuinely miss when the last page is turned). Here, Vivian sets out to become someone interesting, and in short order commits a colossal youthful indiscretion that makes her interesting for all the wrong reasons. Elizabeth Gilbert has said that she wants City of Girls to go down like a gin fizz. (Mission accomplished!) But she slyly imparts some hard-won wisdom into this bawdy but bighearted novel, written as an antidote to the grief Gilbert was experiencing after the loss of her partner, Rayya Elias: “Life is dangerous and fleeting. And thus there is no point in denying yourself pleasure or adventure while you are here.” To that end, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of reading City of Girls. —Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review

Review

Praise for City of Girls:

"A novel as vibrant, sexy and wise as the author’s megahit Eat Pray Love." – People Magazine

"The girls and women of the book don't simply endure: they thrive, they dance, they live. Grab some champagne and toast…" – OprahMag.com

"Gilbert’s new novel… is a pitch-perfect evocation of the era’s tawdry glamour and a coming-of-age story whose fizzy surface conceals unexpected gradations of feeling." –New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
 
"Gilbert stays true to her pledge that she won’t let her protagonist’s sexuality be her downfall, like so many literary heroines before her. That may be the most radical thing about a novel that otherwise revels in the old-fashioned pleasures of storytelling — the right to fall down rabbit holes, and still find your own wonderland." – EntertainmentWeekly.com
 
"A breezy, entertaining read — and really, something better: a lively, effervescent, and sexy portrait of a woman living in a golden time… Passion, Gilbert never tires of informing us, that's the stuff of life. Not money, not the Darwinian struggle for survival, certainly not the family you are born with — passion is our raison d'etre. It's what makes us feel we are rocketing through the streets of New York City during the best days of our lives." – NPR
 
"Her story is rich with memorable characters… the larger-than-life leading lady… the alluring leading man—and a vibrant setting… Gilbert's expert world-building, flawless dialogue, and attention to detail places you right in the middle of the action." – Buzzfeed News

"The lush prose and firm belief in love that suffuses City of Girls will be a cool place to hide out as we enter a heated summer season of contentious presidential politics."—San Francisco Chronicle
 
"With all the conversations about sexual consent, it's risen up around the #MeToo movement… This author doesn't want us to forget there's also such a thing as female desire, the main character wants to have sex and she's not shy about hunting for it." – Whoopi Goldberg, The View 'Ladies Get Lit Summer Reads 2019'

"Glittering, hot, funny, and drenched in pleasure… Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the most dazzling and luminous writers of our generation. She invites us to challenge the rules, hunt down adventure, and bear hug the highs and lows of life." – Marie Forleo, MarieTV
 
"A moving novel about one woman's coming-of-empowerment… Gilbert wrote the kind of big-hearted historical novel you'll burn through in a weekend, then pass on to a friend." – Refinery 29
 
"[Elizabeth Gilbert’s] witty dialogue sparkles like diamonds in champagne." – The Washington Post
 
"Of course, one could — and many will — read it on the beach, but consider instead staying up late to turn pages after midnight, next to an open window on a hot summer night, fireworks flaring in the distance. That experience would mirror this novel’s story and its style: intimate and richly sensual, razzle-dazzle with a hint of danger." – USA Today
 
"A light, fizzy summer cocktail with a strikingly complex finish… Gilbert’s book is as deliciously refreshing as a fizzy summer drink, but truly, in its second half, it’s also more like fine wine, thoughtfully crafted to be savored for its benefits." – The Boston Globe
 
"The perfect summer read." – Hello Giggles
 
"A glamorous, sexy novel." – PopSugar
 
"Packed with showgirls, playboys, and sex—lots of it…being a ‘good girl’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be." – InStyle
 
"…pure, unadulterated entertainment." – The Daily Beast

"The descriptions... of outfits, of drinks, of faces—are delicious, and the smart, snappy dialogue races along like a screwball movie." – The Seattle Times
 
"Fiercely feminist, as well as jam-packed with uplifting truths about love and freedom, this phantasmagoria is both a feast for the senses and a balm for the soul." – Esquire.com

"City of Girls is smart and wise, and if you also want your beach read to speak to your sense of desire, longing, adventure, and coming of age, it certainly will not disappoint." –goop.com

"A fizzy cocktail of a novel…" – The Wall Street Journal 

"Sparkling… City of Girls begs big questions about sex, chosen families, and being a woman." – Marie Claire 

"When Elizabeth Gilbert set out to write City of Girls, her goal was to tell a story of female promiscuity that didn’t end in death or misfortune—a direct and delicious rebuttal to the tragic, sexist fates of the Emma Bovarys and Anna Kareninas of the canon. The result is a wildly entertaining summertime romp." –Elle

"City of Girls tells the story of teenage Vivian’s discovery of the life she wants to live: one full of pleasure, fun, frivolity and even scandal among the charismatic people who populate her aunt’s midtown theater." – Good Housekeeping

"[In City of Girls] there are some of the most brilliant and truthful evocations of youthful sexual exploration that you’ll ever read. Gilbert says in her foreword that she set out to write a novel about ‘promiscuous girls whose lives are not destroyed by their sexual desires’. She has triumphed." – Spectator USA

"Elizabeth Gilbert—the best-selling writer, matron saint of divorced women, modern symbol of follow-your-bliss wisdom, believer in magic, and Oprah approved contemporary guru—has decided to go back in time… Ultimately, Gilbert wants us to question all the judgement society tosses at women like Vivian—and to question the nagging voice inside every girl telling her to be good." –Cosmopolitan
 
"City of Girls embraces. . . the power of a woman breaking from a traditional path, and the wisdom of taking true, two-handed joy in the pleasures that life offers up… City of Girls is an unbeatable beach read, loaded with humor and insight." – Newsday 

"This is a booze-and sex-filled romp that, in the words of showgirl Celia Ray, ‘makes you want to smoke too many cigarettes and laugh with your head thrown back.’" – KMUW / Wichita NPR 89.1
 
"City of Girls centers on relationships among women… exploring the promises and pitfalls of female friendships [and] the importance both of owning our mistakes and forgiving ourselves as well as others." – CS Monitor

"City of Girls is more than a love letter to New York—it’s a colorful portrait of what it means to be part of a theater company, or more accurately, to become a ‘theater person’… Gilbert brings the reader into every moment happening just behind the curtain."  --Bust Magazine

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Riverhead Books; First Edition (June 4, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1594634734
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1594634734
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.5 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.2 x 2 x 9.3 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 13,721 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
13,721 global ratings
How are ratings calculated?

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2019
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748 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2019
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533 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2019
466 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2019
318 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Mrs. J. A. Glover
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2019
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39 people found this helpful
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dlight69
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre story and endless wittering about sewing and fashion. Just buy Vogue if that's your thing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 24, 2019
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30 people found this helpful
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PLS
5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all like champagne bubbles
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2019
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18 people found this helpful
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carole b
4.0 out of 5 stars City of Girls ,the story of a new yorker
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 1, 2019
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9 people found this helpful
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LaylaLane
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favourite novel 💕
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 15, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars My new favourite novel 💕
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 15, 2020
I don’t know if it’s because I got to celebrate my big birthday in NYC last year, or because the book depicts such warm and realistic portrayals of female friendships, or just the exquisite prose...but I adored this book. I did not want it to end.

If you’re looking for an intriguing, heartwarming story with characters you will genuinely care about, I think you’ll relish being transported back to 1940’s New York. You don’t have to be interested in either the theatre or sewing to be entranced and charmed by the description. Gilbert paints a vibrant picture of a time gone by.

I don’t describe the plot in reviews but I’ll add a couple of my favourite quotes:

“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 learned this truth: when women are gathered together with no men around, they don’t have to be anything in particular; they can just be”.

I loved it so much I bought another four copies to gift to my sister and best friends, just so we can all talk about it!

I loved every minute and will return to this book more than once, I’m sure.
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4 people found this helpful
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