City of Girls

I read a lot of novels, every night before bed that’s what calms me down and helps me fall asleep, but it’s rare for me to read a book that keeps me up later than normal and is hard to put down, but City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert was the rare novel that kept me up. It follows the story of Vivian Morris as she flunks out of Vanderbilt and moves to New York City to live with her aunt who’s in the theater business in the 1940s.

The book follows Vivian well beyond the 1940s, Vivian is explaining to a person why she and that person’s father were friends, what was their friendship. In Vivian, Gilbert creates a fascinating character and I loved following her life because it didn’t go at all where I expected.

And I do want to assure you: I’m aware that many things were not better in the 1940s. Underarm deodorants and air-conditioning were woefully inadequate, for instance, so everybody stank like crazy, especially in the summer, and also we had Hitler. But trains were unquestionably better back then. When was the last time you got to enjoy a malted milk and a cigarette on a train? (loc 134)

…but here is the thing about drinking: one can always drink more, if one is truly committed. It’s just a matter of discipline, really. (loc 2397)

The one good thing about being Protestant is that we are not expected to cringe forever in contrition. Yours was a venial sin, Vivian, but not a mortal one.” (loc 4396)

Once I got the hang of it, I found that eating alone by the window in a quiet restaurant is one of life’s greatest secret pleasures. (loc 4588)

When we are young, Angela, we may fall victim to the misconception that time will heal all wounds and that eventually everything will shake itself out. But as we get older, we learn this sad truth: some things can never be fixed. Some mistakes can never be put right—not by the passage of time, and not by our most fervent wishes, either. (loc 4631)