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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 yo
In the summer of 1940, when I was nineteen years old and an idiot, my parents sent me to live with my Aunt Peg, who owned a theater company in New York City.
I had recently been excused from Vassar College, on account of never having attended classes and thereby failing every single one of my freshman exams. I was not quite as dumb as my grades made me look, but apparently it really doesn't help if you don't study. Looking back on it now, I cannot fully recall what I'd been doing with my time during those many hours that I ought to have spent in class, but-knowing me-I suppose I was terribly preoccupied with my appearance. (I do remember that I was trying to master a "reverse roll" that year-a hairstyling technique that, while infinitely important to me and also quite challenging, was not very Vassar.)
I'd never found my place at Vassar, although there were places to be found there. All different types of girls and cliques existed at the school, but none of them stirred my curiosity, nor did I see myself reflected in any of them. There were political revolutionaries at Vassar that year wearing their serious black trousers and discussing their opinions on international foment, but I wasn't interested in international foment. (I'm still not. Although I did take notice of the black trousers, which I found intriguingly chic-but only if the pockets didn't bulge.) And there were girls at Vassar who were bold academic explorers, destined to become doctors and lawyers long before many women did that sort of thing. I should have been interested in them, but I wasn't. (I couldn't tell any of them apart, for one thing. They all wore the same shapeless wool skirts that looked as though they'd been constructed out of old sweaters, and that just made my spirits low.)
It's not like Vassar was completely devoid of glamour. There were some sentimental, doe-eyed medievalists who were quite pretty, and some artistic girls with long and self-important hair, and some highbred socialite types with profiles like Italian greyhounds-but I didn't befriend any of them. Maybe it's because I sensed that everybody at this school was smarter than me. (This was not entirely youthful paranoia; I uphold to this day that everybody there was smarter than me.)
To be honest, I didn't understand what I was doing at college, aside from fulfilling a destiny whose purpose nobody had bothered explaining to me. From earliest childhood, I'd been told that I would attend Vassar, but nobody had told me why. What was it all for? What was I meant to get out of it, exactly? And why was I living in this cabbagey little dormitory room with an earnest future social reformer?
I was so fed up with learning by that time, anyhow. I'd already studied for years at the Emma Willard School for Girls in Troy, New York, with its brilliant, all-female faculty of Seven Sisters graduates-and wasn't that enough? I'd been at boarding school since I was twelve years old, and maybe I felt that I had done my time. How many more books does a person need to read in order to prove that she can read a book? I already knew who Charlemagne was, so leave me alone, is how I saw it.
Also, not long into my doomed freshman year at Vassar, I had discovered a bar in Poughkeepsie that offered cheap beer and live jazz deep into the night. I'd figured out a way to sneak off campus to patronize this bar (my cunning escape plan involving an unlocked lavatory window and a hidden bicycle-believe me, I was the bane of the house warden), thereby making it difficult for me to absorb Latin conjugations first thing in the morning because I was usually hungover.
There were other obstacles, as well.
I had all those cigarettes to smoke, for instance.
In short: I was busy.
Therefore, out of a class of 362 bright young Vassar women, I ended up ranked at 361-a fact that caused my father to remark in horror, "Dear God, what was that other girl doing?" (Contracting polio as it turned out, the
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.
"A spellbinding novel about love, freedom, and finding your own happiness." - PopSugar
"Intimate and richly sensual, razzle-dazzle with a hint of danger." -USA Today
"Pairs well with a cocktail...or two." -TheSkimm
"Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are."
Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a 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. 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." Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.
Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Magic, Eat Pray Love, and several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. Gilbert began her career writing for Harper's Bazaar, Spin, the New York Times Magazine, and GQ, and was a three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award. Her story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The follow-up memoir Committed became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. Her novel, The Signature of All Things, was named a Best Book of 2013 by the New York Times, O Magazine, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the New Yorker. Gilbert's short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Story, One Story, and the Paris Review. Her new novel, City of Girls, will be released June 2019.
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