Book Review: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Ms. Gilber has really outdone herself with one of the best books I’ve read this year, feminist yet realistic, with a flare that few have, the story is one that will capture your heart up until the end. A book that needs to be read with an open mind and that will transport you back to a different New York. If there would be a book that I strongly recommend you to read this year, this is the City of Girls. Warning, the review might contain spoilers.

The narrator is Vivian, an old lady now that is telling her life story in a letter to a girl that asks what was the relationship that she had with her late dad. Unable to define it herself, Vivian gives the details of her life, for the conclusion to be taken by the readers. The story of is of a 19 years old girl, who is a college dropout, and is sent by her parents to live in the New York of 1940 with her aunt Peg.

A virgin with no sexual experience, Vivian enters the world of the Lily Playhouse theater filled with burlesque dancers and showgirls, glamour, drama, and low-cost tickets. This place is going to be her home in the next months. Since her talent included sewing, she volunteers to make the costumes for the actors in the plays.  She will stay in one of the apartments from the upper floors, the one that belonged to Peg’s husband Billy, who she didn’t divorce although they were long separated and he lived in LA.

Celia, one of the showgirls, will be the one to guide Vivian through the process of sexual initiation, from staging, along with other dancers, where and with whom she will lose her virginity, to nights of partying and meeting random men. Vivians life transforms, she becomes a dressmaker by day and party girl by night. It all changes when WWII starts in London and one of the best actresses of the UK theaters joins the crew, along with Billy, the (ex)husband, who makes an appearance in NYC. They they all decide to put in place a new show, City of Girls, that will take Lily in a new direction and also the lives of everyone involved.

The moment when Vivian’s life will take a turn for the worst is when she is heartbroken and mislead into having an affair with Celia and the City of Girls’ main character’s husband. A mistake that will cause her to be expelled from the theater and sent back to her parent’s house.

The book has from the beginning a way of presenting the feminine sexual liberation as seen by the 20 years old girl and perhaps shows the way feminism was seen before and after the war. Even after falling in disgrace, the main character is still not taking full responsibility for her actions and doesn’t understand the harm she has caused up until the end when she is faced with the outcome.

I will not spoil the ending of the book, but I do want to say that it is not what you’ve expected. It will bring into light a different life path than you normally would have seen for that period and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be taken back in time to a way different than now New York City. Perhaps I love this book even more, because of this place, but I do want to recommend you read it. I do hope they will make a movie out of it as well, so fingers crossed.

Last Month’s Favorites: August 2019

Fall is here, the hot and rainy summer made us all feel the changes that happen worldwide and hopefully made us more aware of our footprint on mother Earth. Leaving aside the world disaster, there are so many good things that happen in the past month, so let me dig in.

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Books

Perhaps it was the month of sad books, but I do have to say that Five Feet Apart, Under the Midnight Sun, An Apartment in Paris and City of Girls were some the best books I’ve set my eyes on this year. The first two have a similar storyline, but I consider them different and both will let you heartbroken for the characters, yet will make you understand how important it for you to live in the present and be glad that you’ve won the life lottery and your life is so easy.

The City of Girls will have an entire post dedicated to it, so you can already imagine how much I loved it. As a pre-spoiler, I have to say that if you are unsure wheater you should purchase one of the copies, I am telling you should definitely since it’s a story placed in the New York of the ’40s when the girls ruled the city.

As for An Apartment in Paris by Guillaume Musso, I have to admit I loved the break from the love novels so a thriller was exactly what I aimed for. With funny lines, the story was fresh air for my eyes.

The other 2 books PS I like You by Kasie West and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, I don’t have much to say other than you can do better. If the first one is just another teen romance book, the second one didn’t appeal much to me and I struggled reading it until the end.

TV Shows

Even if I actually started to watch them in July, those got upgraded to favorites in the last month, both can be found on Netflix: Lucifer and Riverdale. Let’s start with the first one, the devil decides to take a vacation and goes to LA to live his own life, away from hell. Apart from an amazing soundtrack that I highly recommend you listen to, the plot, the actors’ British humor (that will remind you of Dr. House show) made me want to watch multiple episodes in a row. Furthermore, what if Lucifer is not the bad guy after all, what if he is just as human as we are?

Riverdale is a different story, dark with lots of drama, I recommend watching it with breaks so that it doesn’t bring you down (it can do that). More or less a combination of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, the action takes place in a small town where evil makes its presence known with the death of Jason Blossom, the son of one most influential family in Riverdale. I have to admit that I really dig the combination of drama, crime, and teenage love.

Horseback riding

As I kid I practiced this for 8 years until I left for college, nowadays every now and then I go to my home town and get back on the saddle for old times sake. Unfortunately, in the last two years, I never made time for this and started to really miss the feeling I get when galloping. It was until this August when I went twice to my home town and I had the chance to remember how much I loved horseback riding. If you are on the lookout for a new (or old) sport that you want to try, you should definitely consider this, for me, it’s the best way to exercise while having the best time.

Hiking on the paths of Ceahlau mountain 

Another thing that I used to do a lot as a kid was the hike on a nearby mountain called Ceahlau (1,907 m) the cold air during the summer heat, the amazing view and the feeling of accomplishment you get when you reach to the top of it, are one of a kind. Even if I am out of shape and was extremely hard to get to the top, even on the easiest path, it was still an amazing experience. Even if I don’t get to do this as often, I still enjoy it when I get the chance.

The Fairy Castle near Sibiu  

 

If you find yourself wandering through the streets of Romania, you should think about adding a pit stop to a place taken straight from fairytales. Although small, the place has its charm and I consider it worth it 100%. The photos can speak for themselves.

While in this region, we also made a stop for lunch in my favorite city, Sibiu. Old and picturesque streets with buildings that have seen many decades, to me this place will always have a special place in my heart. Furthermore, the food here is beyond amazing and at every street, you will see gelato carts, what more to ask for?

Shopping at sale 

If it’s the end of August then it’s sales time, so you can imagine that I was unable to resist the temptation to get some of the essentials that I need in my trip to Egipt (YEY!) and some of the items that I planned on wearing in the fall as well. The items that I got were: a denim skirt and a pair of mom’s jeans, 2 cotton overalls, a top that I can pair with about anything, 3 pairs of shorts, two pairs of summer long pants, a pair of roman sandals. A pair of Converse shoes, a bathing suit, and coverup for it.

Since we are entering the fall season I also added to my shopping list a pair of classic black boots and a pair of brown flats. I am officially ready for both the vacation that I have planned and the season that has just started.

I do have to admit that I got a little too many items this month, but in my defense, they were really cheap and most of them I got from one of the outlets from my home town (yes, I know it’s a lame excuse). Maybe it is because of the upcoming trip that I have planned, but I am really happy that it’s officially September. Time for that Pumpkin spice latte, don’t you guys agree?