Review: Elizabeth Gilbert – City of Girls

City of Girls
Elizabeth Gilbert

Vivian Morris is writing a letter to a woman who’s father she spent time with following the war. This letter and novel tells the story of her life and how it all leads up to her sexual and business freedom.

I didn’t feel very strongly about this novel. It all pretty much boiled down to ‘it was all a dream’. Not exactly, but that was the feeling I had – in that everything that had happened before actually didn’t have any impact or was anything that mattered. I knew she would survive everything thrown her way, and that she’d end up being happy regardless of the challenges.

I get that for its time, the protagonist is a daring and unusual heroine who is a paragon of sexual freedom. But the novel isn’t set up for me to actually enjoy her story. Vivian (even the name suggests she enjoys life) doesn’t endear herself to me at all and I never connected with her little asides about how she didn’t know anything at the time, but oh, looking back she was amazed at her naivety.

This is billed as a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Unique, yes, thrilling and enthralling, no. 3 stars, and maybe a different audience would be more suitable to read this (someone keen on the 1940s and the war times?).

Bloomsbury | 4th June 2019 | AU$32.99 | paperback

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