City of Girls -Elizabeth Gilbert
"I could have spent the rest of my life trying to prove that I was a good girl - but that would have been unfaithful to who I really was. I believed that I was a good person, if not a good girl. But my appetites were what they were. So I gave up on the idea of denying myself what I truly wanted. Then I sought ways to delight myself...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."
Pour yourself a gin rickey, sashay through the smoky haze of The Stork Club, and find your seat under the bright lights of the Lily Playhouse. City of Girls is the perfect mix of razzle dazzle and moxie that your summer reading needs. This is the story of Vivian, a doe eyed, small town girl who finds herself more or less dumped on the doorstep of her eccentric aunt’s theater after she fails to cut the mustard at Vassar. Vivian quickly befriends the resident show girl and under her guidance, discovers the New York night life and all of its glorious debauchery.
During the day, Vivian works for her aunt sewing costumes for the struggling theater's productions, and she becomes a vital part of her staff when they enlist the help of a genius playwright and an A list actress to breathe new life on to their stage. The company ends up producing a fantastic play that becomes the toast of the town and the reader is provided with a front row seat where you can almost feel the costume feathers tickling your face, experience the emotion as Edna belts out her songs and lose yourself in the excited energy of the audience as they applaud and call out for an encore night after night. But, all good things must come to an end, and Vivian ends up playing an unknowing hand in the theater's hard fall from grace.
This story is definitely a departure from the author’s previous works and there were a few spots where the narrative tended to drag a bit, but the decadence of Gilbert’s writing and her exuberant array of characters makes for a delightful read. Many thanks to Riverhead Books for providing this gorgeous copy in exchange for my honest review. I can not wait to see what Gilbert writes next.