City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Let me start by saying this is a different book from what I usually read, and I think it's fantastic. Ever since reading Ms. Gilbert's Big Magic, I have become a fan. I love how straight forward she is with her writing. She has a talent for giving such vivid descriptions without boring you to death with them.
City of Girls takes you to 1940's New York City. The book is a letter written by Vivian Morris. It showcases her journey from a bored and unmotivated 19-year-old, to a strong independent woman who eventually came to know and accept who she is.
Vivian spends time in a theater playhouse called the Lilly. She becomes the unofficial costume designer and gets to express her creativity through her sewing. I love how Ms. Gilbert managed to capture the culture of theater. She nailed the stress, hard work, and excitement that goes with planning a production. Anyone with theater experience will recognize Ms. Gilbert did her homework.
Vivian's tale is filled with unique characters. Characters in the form of showgirls, actors, writers, and every other person who has ever raised a middle finger to socially acceptable rules. Some are vain, some are sleazy, some are strong, some are weak, and some are steadfast and honest. They have their flaws, but they are all likable in different ways. Well, except the dumb overly pretty actor with no talent. He was only good for mental facepalms whenever he opened his mouth. But, even he had his place in Vivian's story.
Overall City of Girls was a great read. Ms. Gilbert brought the theater life of 1940's New York into vivid color through her use of descriptions and her many colorful characters. All for the sake of watching a girl discover her path in life.