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Welcome to our audiobook review of “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert! In this review, we’ll be delving into the vibrant world she has created, exploring a tale of love and self-discovery. From the plot to the characters, narration to themes, and everything in between, we’ll be giving you an in-depth analysis of this audiobook.

If you’re curious to know more about “City of Girls,” Elizabeth Gilbert’s audiobook, read on! We guarantee that by the end of this review, you’ll have a better understanding of what makes this audiobook so captivating.

So, let’s dive in!

Overview of “City of Girls”

If you’re looking for a captivating audiobook to immerse yourself in, “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert is a must-listen. Set in the 1940s, the novel follows the story of 19-year-old Vivian Morris, who moves to New York City to live with her Aunt Peg, the proprietor of the Lily Playhouse. The audiobook takes listeners on a journey of love, self-discovery, and the vibrancy of the city.


The plot of “City of Girls” revolves around Vivian’s journey of self-discovery, romantic relationships, and the success of her Aunt Peg’s theatre company. Through her experiences, Vivian learns more about herself and the world around her. The audiobook is full of twists and turns that keep the listener engaged until the very end.


The setting of “City of Girls” is New York City in the 1940s, a time of glamour, parties, and cultural revolution. The city’s vibrant atmosphere and cultural landmarks serve as a backdrop to the story and contribute to the overall ambiance of the novel.


“City of Girls” is full of colorful and diverse characters. From Aunt Peg, the unconventional theatre producer, to Edna Parker Watson, Vivian’s roommate, the characters in the novel bring depth and authenticity to the story.

If you’re looking for an immersive and captivating audiobook, “City of Girls” is a must-listen. With a vibrant setting, a dynamic cast of characters, and a plot full of twists and turns, Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel is a true masterpiece.

Elizabeth Gilbert – The Author behind the Audiobook

Elizabeth Gilbert is a critically acclaimed author widely known for her bestselling memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love.” Born in Connecticut in 1969, Gilbert spent her early years in the rural countryside before moving to New York City to attend New York University.

Her writing career began in the late 1990s as a freelance journalist for renowned publications such as GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and Spin. During this time, she also wrote her first novel, “Stern Men,” which was published in 2000.

Gilbert’s breakthrough came in 2006 with the release of “Eat, Pray, Love,” a memoir chronicling her journey of self-discovery through Italy, India, and Bali. The book spent 200 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List and was later adapted into a successful film starring Julia Roberts.

Since then, Gilbert has continued to produce acclaimed works of fiction and non-fiction, including “Big Magic,” “The Signature of All Things,” and “City of Girls,” the audiobook under review. Her writing style is often described as intimate, introspective, and evocative, with a masterful use of language and descriptive prose.

“City of Girls” showcases Gilbert’s skill in crafting a vivid and immersive story, transporting listeners to 1940s New York City and the dazzling world of showgirls and theater. Through her unique perspective and captivating prose, Gilbert weaves a tale of love, friendship, and self-discovery that has earned critical acclaim and praise from readers around the world.

Audiobook Narration and Performance

In “City of Girls,” the audiobook narration and performance work together to bring Elizabeth Gilbert’s story to life. The voice actor or actors involved deliver a performance that is engaging and captivating, pulling listeners into the narrative.

The narration is clear and easy to follow, allowing listeners to fully immerse themselves in the story. The voice actor or actors are expressive, using tone and inflection to convey emotion and meaning in a way that is both powerful and subtle. This helps to create a nuanced and complex portrayal of the characters and the world they inhabit.

One of the standout elements of the narration and performance in “City of Girls” is the way the voice actor or actors capture the essence of the different characters. Each character has their own unique voice and personality, making it easy for listeners to distinguish between them even when there are multiple characters in a scene.

Audiobook narration and performance in City of Girls

The Audiobook Performance

The performance in “City of Girls” is exceptional, with the voice actor or actors bringing depth, nuance, and authenticity to every moment of the story. The actor(s) skillfully navigate the complex emotions and relationships between the characters, capturing the humor, passion, and heartache at the heart of the narrative.

Their delivery is elegant, with a perfect balance between pacing and intensity, allowing listeners to fully experience the story without ever feeling overwhelmed or unsure of what’s happening. The voice actor’s(s’) portrayal of the characters is nuanced and authentic, bringing both the lead and supporting characters to life with texture and depth.

The Narration and Storytelling Style

The narration and storytelling style in “City of Girls” work together to create a rich and vibrant world that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The story is told in the first person, allowing listeners to fully immerse themselves in the perspective of the main character. The storytelling is engaging and dynamic, with a natural flow that moves listeners seamlessly from one moment to the next.

The narration is clean and easy to follow, but it also has a depth that allows listeners to fully appreciate the complex characters and relationships in the story. Gilbert’s writing is brought to life through the voice actor’s(s’) performance, making this audiobook a true gem for listeners of all ages.

Setting and Atmosphere

Step into the bustling world of “City of Girls,” where the vibrant setting and immersive atmosphere transport you to New York City during the 1940s. With meticulous attention to detail, Elizabeth Gilbert captures the time period’s essence, from the fashion to the slang, making the world come to life through the listener’s ears.

The primary setting is the Lily Playhouse, a flamboyant theater owned by the vivacious Aunt Peg. The playhouse serves as the backdrop for the story, allowing the characters to explore their passions and desires while navigating the complexities of youthful exuberance. The venue also enables Gilbert to create a rich, colorful atmosphere, setting the mood for each scene and adding depth to the characters’ interactions, particularly Vivian’s.

As Vivian becomes immersed in the world of the playhouse and its cast of characters, including the charming leading man, Anthony Roccella, and the sultry actress, Edna Watson, the atmosphere changes from one of wide-eyed wonder to one of recklessness. Gilbert skillfully portrays the contrast between the two, giving listeners a glimpse into the world of show business while providing poignant commentary on the social norms of the era.

The city itself serves as an additional character in the audiobook, with Gilbert painting a vivid picture of New York through her descriptive language and character interactions. From the iconic skyline to the bustling streets, the city becomes a vital part of the story, providing a sense of time and place that adds depth to the overall experience.

The Role of Setting and Atmosphere

The immersive world created in “City of Girls” adds to the overall storytelling experience, making it a must-listen audiobook for anyone seeking an escape to a bygone era. The setting and atmosphere offer a glimpse into a world that no longer exists, providing a nostalgic feel that will leave listeners feeling both satisfied and yearning for more.

Characters and Relationships

Elizabeth Gilbert presents a diverse cast of characters in “City of Girls.” From the bohemian showgirls of the Lily Playhouse to the wealthy and powerful families of the Upper East Side, each character has their unique story and personality.

The main character, Vivian Morris, is a spunky and independent young woman who moves to New York City in the summer of 1940. Her arrival at her Aunt Peg’s rundown theater, the Lily Playhouse, marks the beginning of a journey that leads her to discover herself and the world around her.

Throughout the audiobook, we witness the development of various relationships, both romantic and platonic. From Vivian’s casual flings with charming men to her deep friendships with fellow showgirls, the relationships are a vital aspect of the story.

One of the most notable relationships is between Vivian and her outgoing and fearless friend, Celia Ray. The pair’s bond is essential in Vivian’s journey of self-discovery, and their conflicting personalities make for an engaging dynamic.

“She [Celia] was everything I was not: beautiful, glamorous, daring, carelessly brilliant, and astonishingly charismatic. I was a mouse; she was a tiger.”

Moreover, the audiobook explores the taboo topic of age-gap relationships, where we see Vivian in a secret and scandalous affair with the much older man, Anthony Roccella. The relationship is controversial but intriguing and is essential in Vivian’s growth and understanding of herself.

The diverse range of characters in “City of Girls” and their relationships enrich the narrative, allowing listeners to connect and empathize with the struggles and triumphs that come with love, passion, and self-discovery.

Themes Explored in “City of Girls”

As listeners dive into “City of Girls,” they will discover a host of themes that Elizabeth Gilbert artfully explores throughout her audiobook. From the importance of love and self-discovery to societal expectations, “City of Girls” offers a thoughtful examination of what it means to be human.

The Power of Love

One of the central themes in “City of Girls” is the transformative power of love. Gilbert weaves a complex web of relationships, exploring the many forms that love can take, from the passionate to the platonic. Vivian, the novel’s protagonist, experiences the ups and downs of love, ultimately discovering its ability to change and shape her life.

Finding Yourself

Another central theme in “City of Girls” is the journey of self-discovery. Throughout the audiobook, Vivian explores her identity, discovering who she truly is and what she wants from life. Gilbert encourages listeners to tap into their own sense of self, reminding us that the path to fulfillment often lies in embracing our unique identities.

The Weight of Expectations

Societal expectations play a key role in “City of Girls,” as Vivian grapples with the pressures placed upon her by others. Gilbert delves into the ways in which expectations can shape and limit our lives, encouraging listeners to push past these constraints and forge their own paths.

Themes in City of Girls

Overall, “City of Girls” offers a powerful exploration of love, self-discovery, and societal expectations. Gilbert’s thoughtful examination of these themes is sure to resonate with listeners, encouraging us to reflect on our own journeys and the ways in which we navigate the world around us.

Storytelling and Plot Development

The storytelling and plot development in “City of Girls” are masterfully crafted to create an immersive and engaging listening experience. Elizabeth Gilbert weaves together a rich tapestry of characters, relationships, and themes with expertly executed twists and turns that keep listeners hooked from start to finish.

One of the strengths of the storytelling in “City of Girls” is the clever structure of the narrative. The story is told from the perspective of Vivian Morris, an elderly woman reflecting on her tumultuous relationship with showgirl Celia Ray. Through her memories, we are transported back to the 1940s and the vibrant world of New York City theater. The non-linear structure adds to the intrigue of the story, providing glimpses of the eventual outcome while keeping listeners engaged with the journey to get there.

The pacing of the audiobook is also expertly crafted, with moments of slow introspection balanced by thrilling highs and devastating lows. Gilbert’s expert use of tension and release keeps the listener on the edge of their seat throughout the narrative, unsure of what will happen next.

Overall, the storytelling and plot development in “City of Girls” are masterfully executed, making for a truly captivating listening experience.

Evaluating the Writing Style

Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing style in “City of Girls” is captivating and engaging. Gilbert uses descriptive language that transports listeners to the vibrant world she has created. The way she describes the setting and characters in the audiobook is so vivid that the listener can imagine themselves walking through the streets of New York City in the 1940s.

Gilbert also has an exceptional talent for dialogue. The conversations between characters flow naturally and reveal a great deal about their personalities and relationships without feeling forced or contrived. This draws the listener into the story and encourages them to become invested in the characters’ lives. Through her masterful storytelling, Gilbert expertly weaves together a tale of love, friendship, and self-discovery that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

The audiobook’s narrator(s) perfectly captures the tone and style of Gilbert’s writing. They bring each character to life with unique voices and inflections that enhance the listening experience. Their performance encourages listeners to fully immerse themselves in this enchanting story of love and self-discovery.

Use of Language

Gilbert’s use of language is one of the highlights of “City of Girls.” Her writing is sensual and evocative, bringing the listener into the world of the story. Through her descriptions, she creates a sensory experience that is both nostalgic and comforting.

Use of Description

Gilbert’s descriptions are engaging and immersive. She paints a vivid picture of the characters and the world they inhabit, making it easy for listeners to picture the story in their minds. Using descriptive language and imagery, she creates an atmosphere that is both enchanting and captivating.

Use of Dialogue

Gilbert’s dialogue is authentic and plays an essential role in bringing the characters to life. The conversations between characters reveal their personalities and relationships. Gilbert expertly captures the tone and style of the time period, making it easy for the listener to immerse themselves in the story and become invested in the characters.

Reception and Critical Acclaim

Since its release, “City of Girls” has received widespread critical acclaim and garnered a devoted fan base. The audiobook has been praised for its mesmerizing storytelling and vivid characters, which transport listeners back in time to the glamourous and bohemian world of New York City in the 1940s.

Renowned literary critic, Michiko Kakutani, lauded Gilbert’s work, stating that it was “evocative and joyous” in The New York Times. Other publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian have also lauded the audiobook, with critics commending Gilbert’s unique writing style and the narrator’s captivating performance.

But it’s not just the critics who were enamored with “City of Girls.” The audiobook has also been well-received by readers around the world. On Goodreads, the novel has an average rating of 4.05 stars based on over 70,000 reviews, with readers praising the vibrant characters, compelling plot, and immersive setting.


Award Category Recipient Year
Audie Awards Fiction Blair Brown, narrator 2020
Goodreads Choice Awards Historical Fiction Elizabeth Gilbert, author 2019
New York Times Best Seller Combined Print & E-Book Fiction Elizabeth Gilbert, author 2019

With such overwhelming critical acclaim and numerous accolades under its belt, it’s no wonder that “City of Girls” is considered one of the must-listen audiobooks of the year.

Personal Reflections and Connections

Listening to “City of Girls” was a deeply personal experience for me. Gilbert’s vivid descriptions of 1940s New York City immediately transported me back in time, evoking nostalgia for a time I never lived through. It was a world filled with glamour, hard work, and ultimately self-discovery.

But what struck me the most about the audiobook were the themes of love and self-acceptance, and how the characters learned to navigate their relationships while staying true to themselves. The story spoke to me on a level that I didn’t expect, reminding me of my own journey of self-discovery.

One particular moment in the audiobook stood out to me. Without giving too much away, there is a scene where the main character is faced with a difficult decision – to choose between love and her dreams. It made me reflect on my own life and the times I had to make similar decisions. It was a poignant moment that truly resonated with me.

Overall, “City of Girls” is a beautiful audiobook that left a lasting impression on me. The characters, setting, and themes will stay with me for a long time, and I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone looking for a captivating story about love, self-discovery, and following your dreams.

Comparisons to Other Works

Elizabeth Gilbert has become a household name in the literary world, and “City of Girls” is the latest addition to her impressive collection of works. Fans of Gilbert will enjoy the same vivid characters, immersive settings, and inspiring themes that she expertly weaves into all of her stories. For those looking for similar audiobooks, we recommend:

  • The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – This audiobook follows the life of Alma Whittaker, a brilliant botanical explorer in the 1800s, who journeys through various relationships and challenges. Gilbert’s vivid descriptions and expert storytelling make for an engrossing listening experience.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – Like “City of Girls,” this audiobook explores powerful themes of love, loss, and self-discovery, against the backdrop of World War II. Hannah’s rich historical detail and multi-dimensional characters make this audiobook a must-listen for fans of the genre.
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – This audiobook similarly explores complex familial relationships and identity struggles, as twin sisters navigate different paths in life. Bennett’s masterful storytelling and thought-provoking themes make for an unforgettable listening experience.

While each of these audiobooks has its own unique strengths, they all share common threads with “City of Girls,” making them excellent choices for listeners looking to explore similar themes and storytelling techniques.


In conclusion, Elizabeth Gilbert’s “City of Girls” is a captivating tale that immerses listeners in a world of love and self-discovery. With its vibrant setting, diverse range of characters, and insightful themes, this audiobook offers a unique perspective on life, relationships, and societal expectations.

Moreover, the audiobook narration and performance bring the story to life, with voice actors delivering their lines with passion and precision. Gilbert’s writing style is also commendable, with her use of language, descriptions and dialogue adding to the overall listening experience.

Overall, “City of Girls” has been well-received by readers and critics alike, with many highlighting its powerful storytelling and character development. We highly recommend this audiobook to anyone seeking a compelling and thought-provoking tale.

So what are you waiting for? Dive into Elizabeth Gilbert’s “City of Girls” and discover a world of love, adventure, and growth.


What is “City of Girls” about?

“City of Girls” is a captivating audiobook by Elizabeth Gilbert that takes readers into a vibrant world of love and self-discovery. Set in New York City during the 1940s, the story follows Vivian Morris, a young woman exploring her identity and navigating relationships in the theater world.

Who is the author of “City of Girls”?

“City of Girls” is written by Elizabeth Gilbert, a renowned author known for her bestselling memoir “Eat, Pray, Love.” Gilbert brings her unique perspective and writing style to this immersive audiobook.

What can I expect from the audiobook narration and performance in “City of Girls”?

The audiobook of “City of Girls” features skilled narrators who bring the story to life through their exceptional performances. They expertly capture the emotions, dynamics, and distinct voices of the characters, enhancing the listening experience.

How does the setting and atmosphere contribute to the story in “City of Girls”?

The setting of 1940s New York City and the immersive atmosphere created in “City of Girls” play a significant role in the narrative. The vivid descriptions and attention to detail transport listeners to a bygone era, adding depth and authenticity to the story.

Who are the main characters in “City of Girls” and how do their relationships evolve?

“City of Girls” introduces a diverse range of characters, each with their own unique journey and development. Vivian Morris, the protagonist, forms complex relationships and friendships throughout the audiobook, experiencing growth, heartbreak, and self-discovery along the way.

What are the central themes explored in “City of Girls”?

“City of Girls” delves into various themes such as love, self-discovery, societal expectations, and the power of forgiveness. Elizabeth Gilbert masterfully weaves these themes into the narrative, providing thought-provoking insights and reflections.

How is the storytelling and plot development in “City of Girls”?

The storytelling and plot development in “City of Girls” are rich and engrossing. Gilbert’s narrative structure keeps listeners engaged, with well-paced plot twists and turns that add intrigue and suspense.

What is Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing style like in “City of Girls”?

Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing style in “City of Girls” is vibrant, descriptive, and evocative. Her use of language, dialogue, and vivid descriptions creates a lush reading experience that brings the characters and settings to life.

How has “City of Girls” been received by readers and critics?

“City of Girls” has received widespread acclaim from both readers and critics. The audiobook has garnered positive reviews for its immersive storytelling, well-crafted characters, and Gilbert’s ability to capture the essence of 1940s New York City.

Did “City of Girls” personally resonate with the reviewers?

As reviewers, “City of Girls” personally resonated with us. The audiobook touched us on an emotional level, with its exploration of love, self-discovery, and the complexities of human relationships. It left a lasting impact, prompting us to reflect on our own experiences and connections.

Are there any similar audiobooks or works by Elizabeth Gilbert that you can recommend?

If you enjoyed “City of Girls,” you may also appreciate other works by Elizabeth Gilbert, such as her bestselling memoir “Eat, Pray, Love.” Additionally, if you’re interested in audiobooks with immersive settings and rich storytelling, we recommend “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain.

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