Full disclosure: I won a copy of this book in a giveaway, so I didn’t buy it. However, I am not obliged to write a good review (or any review) so I will write exactly what I thought of it. I must admit, I watched Eat Pray Love at the movies and absolutely loved the story, and often reference it, but I have not read any of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books previously.
First thing: the book is long. If you’re after a quick read, this is not it. However, it is an easy one to read because Gilbert has an easy-going style, which I found really enjoyable. I personally love historical fiction so one of my favourite things about City of Girls is that it is set in the 40s. The vibrant descriptions of theatre life and show girls are just wonderful, and you can imagine every single character because they are all strong.
Vivian Morris is the main character, who writes the book as a reply to a letter she received, talking about her life as a twenty-something working backstage in costumery. The book probably could have been shorter. I particularly thought that chapters 26 – 29 (a “quick” what-happened-next about Vivian when she was older) weren’t really necessary, and it felt a bit laboured reading through them. However, it does lead to chapters 30 and 31, which were my favourite chapters of the book. It really is an expectedly heartwarming and satisfying conclusion.
If you’re already an Elizabeth Gilbert fan, you’ll love the fact that there’s so much of her writing to savour. However, if you’re a first time reader, it’s quite a thick book to get through. Regardless of that, Gilbert is a natural writer and the story was very enjoyable. I wouldn’t call it a “must read” but if you do pick this book up, you won’t be disappointed.