Welcome everybody to the 11th episode of our bookclub! A big thank you to you all for being part of this group – just loving your feedback and insights about our books – so please, keep it coming!!
In this episode, Alex workshops Elizabeth’s Gilbert latest book – City of Girls – with her wonderful friend and author, Mandy Newman.
This book is set in the theatre world of Manhattan in the 1940’s – a world which retired thespians Alex and Mandy would have loved to be a part of!! It’s a colourful tale of beautiful, promiscuous girls having a rollicking time but it’s more than just joyous escapism. It’s about female desire and empowerment, the mistakes we make when we are young and developing the resilience to be able survive them.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s inspiration for the book was a desire to change up the narrative in western literature that when women step outside of society’s cultural norms that they are banished or even die! She wants us to have a narrative that says yes – there will be consequences of reckless behaviour but women will absolutely survive!
Why Did We Read This Book?
– In advance copies of “City of Girls”, Elizabeth Gilbert provided a note to her readers, claiming she wanted her new novel to “go down like a champagne cocktail — light and bright, crisp and fun.” We so wanted a bit of that!!
– The Eat. Pray. Love phenomena of 2006 was one the best-selling memoirs of the modern age with an incredible 12 million copies in print! We needed to see what else she had in store for us with this book.and effectively eclipsed her earlier, better work. In addition to making her a fortune — 12 million copies in print, plus a movie starring Julia Roberts — “Eat, Pray, Love” launched Gilbert into the Oprahsphere from which she hawks inspiring advice and branded lip gloss, T-shirts and perfume.
– It’s set in Manhattan in the 1940’s – just before the US joins the war. Alex and Mandy love historical fiction. It was only a few weeks ago that they relished reading Natasha Lester’s The Paris Secret which they adored!
– It’s won multiple awards, been a Sunday Times Bestseller and selected as a Book of the Year by The Daily Telegraph, Washington Post, Independent, Red and Good Housekeeping.
About The Author
This is Elizabeth’s 9th book! What an accomplishment! Here are her previous releases:
Pilgrims – 1997
Stern Men – 2000
The Last American Man – 2002
Eat Pray Love – 2006
Committed – 2010
At Home On The Range – 2012 (cookbook)
The Signature of All Things – 2013
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – 2015
City of Girls – 2020
Liz’s was inspired to write this book after discovering essays from 1940’s theatre critic Alexander Woolcott describing the colourful theatre world of Manhattan in the 1930’s and 1940’s. His descriptions of visiting actresses and the sparkling champagne cocktail theatre world hooked her in.
She also believes that the #metoo movement has seen such a focus on consent that the dialogue around female desire has been lost. She wanted this book to change that.
City of Girls is a magnificent read that won’t disappoint. Alex and Mandy both thoroughly enjoyed it. They loved the story, the history and Elizabeth Gilbert’s masterful relationships. It comes with a highly recommend!
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