City of Girls was my first Gilbert read and it won’t be my last, what have I been missing out on?!
Set in the 1940s, this book has all the glamour and thrills that you’d expect from this era in New York and with the main setting being a theatre – the ambiance is even more amplified. I was instantly drawn into the atmosphere that Gilbert created throughout and can still feel the magic of it all even now as I write the review weeks later (I know… I’m way behind).
This is the story of Vivian as she makes her way from being a girl to an adult, as she decides what she wants to do with her life and who she wants to spend it with. After failing in school, her parents sent her to the city to live with her aunt in the hope she’ll gain perspective, although I think it was more to do with getting her out of their hair!
Growing up is all about making mistakes and learning from them, and Vivian definitely has to do this after her early wild antics in the city leave her friend-less and distanced from the ones that love her most. Whilst her behaviour was a little too extreme for me, I definitely felt electrified by reading it all, I felt like I was her little sister being let in on all her secrets and truly her friend.
So many have commented on Gilbert’s ability to make you feel as if you’re right there with Vivian, and it really is extraordinary how well Gilbert writes, it’s hard to describe… unless you’ve read one of her books, it’s difficult to appreciate how unique her style is compared to other writers that use similar techniques to engage their readers.
This story flows in such a natural way as Vivian reminisces through her younger years up to the most recent events, and the reason why she’s recounting it all.
This is a story to be captivated by, everything seems so real and plays out before your eyes. I finished this book in record time and felt pure devastation as I finished the final words. Vivian is a very special character, I don’t think I’ll every forget her!
City of Girls is out now in paperback and eBook versions from Bloomsbury Books.
Until next time, Chloé x
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