REVIEW – City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

“My friends! My oldest friends in the world! My oldest friends in the world whom I’d only met two weeks ago.”

City of Girls starts off as the literary equivalent of a fizzy, fruity cocktail. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s lighthearted. The characters are great friends – the theatre crew is an interesting mix of personalities, but they all get along so well. Just when you think you’ve settled in to an easy breezy story, it delivers a gut punch.

“The sooner you get flattened to the ground, the sooner you can begin to rebuild your life again.”

There are some brutally real and crushing moments in this book – which deviates completely from the tone set early on. What starts as a tale of a frivolous, stupid 19 year old girl (weren’t we all idiots at that age?) turns into an epic about one woman’s fascinating journey through life.

It’s racy and shocking at times. It’s set during WWII but unlike any historical fiction I’ve read from the same era. The pacing is incredible and the writing is exquisite. The examination of relationships, mostly of the different types of female friendships, is very real and honest.

The last few chapters are the most emotional. They make up such a brief – but powerful – part of the book.

“Anyway, 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.”

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