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City of Girls

A Novel
Narrated by: Blair Brown
Length: 15 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7,924 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2019 Elizabeth Gilbert (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Blair Brown delivers a superb narration of Elizabeth Gilbert's novel, which features the recollections of a 95-year-old New York seamstress who came of age during WWII. Brown's straightforward, charming depiction illuminates the vivacious young woman the wistful elderly narrator remembers, and her conversational pacing creates vibrant pictures for the listener." (AudioFile Magazine)

"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'") 

"Delightful…Terrific characters, gorgeous clothing, great one-liners, convincing wartime atmosphere, and excellent descriptions of sex…Don't miss out on her wonderful novels any longer." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

"Gilbert takes us to New York City in the glamorous 1940s, where the sex was plentiful and showgirls just wanted to have fun." (Oprahmag.com) 

Editorial Review

"Vivian Morris is a 95-year-old woman who looks back on her youthful indiscretions with zero regrets. Zero. From the time she arrived at her Aunt Peg's rundown Manhattan theater at age nineteen, escaping the rigor and elitism of 1940's Vassar, Vivian enthusiastically sought out the kind of life lessons best taught by show girls. She considered those years of youthful hedonism as the best of her life—living with intent and absolutely no shame—and (almost surprisingly) she was not destroyed by it! Narrator Blair Brown's performance is amazing. She captures the spirit of this dauntless NYC woman and a place and time forever immortalized in Gilbert's glittery prose." —Tricia F., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The last two hours was interesting

I’m a Gilbert fan however this was my least favorite book she’s written. Some of the most interesting people in the book were dropped and we are left with a self absorbed self important protagonist. Once Frank came into the story it became interesting and thoughtful. However that was only the last two hours. I felt the best part of the story was rushed to a unsatisfying end.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Massively oversold presale, just ok book

I wasn’t really thrilled with this book. This was my first presale and after reading the summary I couldn’t wait til it came available. I didn’t not think it lived up to the hype, though the descriptions do bring images to life, I just didn’t love the story. It left me wanting more... more detail, more depth, more feeling.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Two books

First half is awesome. I felt like I was living vicariously through the main character in this 1940s experience.
Second half felt like a whole separate novel. Sullen.
The audible performance was excellent.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Reader is amazing!

Gilbert did it again, start very light and funny and move to deeper levels of pure human behaviors, yes a lot sex!. Love it, Vivian is a carácter that you will love and know to the bone.

43 of 47 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A strong story

I don't give my devotion easily; in fact, I'm probably quite a picky reader. So it thrills me to no end to once again bestow the highest mark to Liz Gilbert for one of her books: City of Girls. I loved it! It made me cringe, and it made me cry, it made me laugh, and it made me want to move to New York City in the 1940s :) I'm so glad I got to go on this journey Liz, just like I loved the journey of The Signature of All Things.
And as Liz would say:
Onwards <3

68 of 75 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not up to expectations

This book does not live up to expectation and seems overrated. First part was ok, maybe even good. The second part was disappointing. I almost didn’t finish the book. The main character is difficult to like and the descriptions are superficial. The story lacks depth and the plot is not that interesting. I would not recommend spending time listening to this book. Find something else.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Kept waiting for the story to begin

I hung in for a few hours, eagerly anticipating the story to begin now that the groundwork had been laid. I was disappointed that this never happened. I'm a big EG fan but, sadly, I'm not willing to continue with this one.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Ugh

I thought the book was over at the halfway point! If it had been I would have given it a much higher rating.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • Fillmore, CA, United States
  • 06-05-19

Fun, Sexy, Smart

Elizabeth Gilbert never disappoints. She is smart and awesome. Her characters are fun, her turns of phrase and story telling made me write snippets on pieces of paper in my car. It's lush and alive and gratifying. I wish she had been the narrator. I'm excited for this launch!

45 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

There wasn’t a clear storyline...

I was intrigued by the characters and the character development but I just couldn’t find a real point to the story. It also felt segmented into two parts. They almost felt like unrelated stories. I couldn’t finish it.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful