City of Girls

City of Girls

Book - 2019
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In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves - and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest. Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life - and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. "At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time, " she muses. "After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is."
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2019.
ISBN: 9781594634734
Branch Call Number: FIC Gilbe
Characteristics: 470 p. ; 24 cm.

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JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jan 23, 2020

Solid historical fiction set in the New York City mostly during the 1940s. Not quite as deep as it could have been...beachy but fun.

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hollymsellers
Jan 20, 2020

unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love. In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager.

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LulaJones
Jan 13, 2020

I enjoyed this book, other than the monotonous details at times, the story was fun and kept moving at a good pace. I loved the setting of New York throughout the 40s and beyond. I enjoyed the description of New York in war time and the toll it took on the city and those who stayed behind. I loved her alternative life choices and how she allowed herself to be who she truly was! Ultimately, this is a love story, but not in the traditional sense.

m
MargeBanks
Jan 02, 2020

Nina

l
lozza1401
Jan 01, 2020

I feel like this book is in two parts that don't quite mesh. It's a sexual coming-of-age story and when I reached the second half of this book I kept wondering "where is this storyline going?". I didn't like the main character. I did like the description and setting of 1940s New York and the theatre industry.

m
marybellinger
Dec 20, 2019

What a fantastic read this was! So funny! Yet so endearing! Reading it allows the modern independent woman to feel free, confident, and so happy in life. Indeed it is racey, but I still bought a copy for my 94 year old aunt. Fabulous read for females.

t
Taradactll
Dec 18, 2019

I really enjoyed the humour in the storytelling, I fell in love with the women and the strength that EG wrote them with and there were parts of the book that grated on me. Specifically, the narrow lens and privilege that Vivian Morris (main character) held in her youth and throughout her life. But maybe that was the point of her character?

I also really appreciated the research that went into the novel to describe the era and some of the scenes were hilarious. Overall I enjoyed the book, it was an easy and fun read - not loads of depth to some of the relationships.

s
selfishgiant
Dec 13, 2019

Globe 100 2019. Women friends in 1940's New York. Goes down like a gin fizz.

w
walden20
Nov 25, 2019

A superb read!!! The author has her main character Vivian telling her own story in such a natural voice, you just want to keep on reading.

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bette108
Nov 17, 2019

I enjoyed this book immensely, and disagree with another reviewer about the dialogue. I found the dialogue credible. The protagonist can be selfish (as the same reviewer mentioned), but I think she's also quite aware that she's had a privileged life, and went on from her childhood to carve out a life that wasn't as socially acceptable to most of her generation, even though we have lots of examples of women who did that in the 1940's and beyond. I particularly liked the breezy writing style, as well as the gems of wisdom that poke through now and then, such as "...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 was also particularly struck by the advice on the "field of honour' - i.e., "that to become an adult, one must step into the field of honour. Everything will be expected of you...you will need to be vigilant in your principles. Sacrifices will be demanded. You will be judged. If you make mistakes, you must account for them." I thought this pointed to the growth of the protagonist's character, and lifted her out of the selfish realm.

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Kristen MERKE
Oct 07, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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janiedobbs
Dec 30, 2019

Vivian, looking back on her life, describes her experiences moving to New York as a wide-eyed nineteen-year-old in the 1940’s. City of Girls is about her adventures there as she becomes a costume director at her Aunt Peg’s theater, the Lily Plahouse.

Vivian is drawn into the glamour and excitement of stage life, but finds herself caught up in its excesses as well. When Vivian finds herself in a sticky situation, she’s forced to grow up and gain some perspective on her life.

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