92. ‘City of Girls’ by Elizabeth gilbert.

If you know me, you’ll know that ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is right up there as one of my least liked books, and as a result, I haven’t read anything else from this author…until now!

This was a gift from a dear friend who knows full well how I felt about THAT book, and yet had liked this enough herself to recommend it. And, as a result, I had a blissful afternoon in the sunshine with this romp of a novel. Great literature it is not – it’s overloaded with adjectives and has several rather inexplicably overlapping plot lines, but it’s a terrific beach read for all that, easy, entertaining and enjoyable.

We begin with the narrator and central character, Vivian, being asked by ‘his’ daughter to tell her what she was to her father, who has just died. Vivian sets out instead to tell her what he was to her in sufficient detail to make an entire book out of her life story, beginning long before she met him with her leaving college to live dangerously in New York in 1940 at her highly unconventional Aunt Peg’s theatre. Running amok across the city with glamorous showgirls, however improbable she may seem, Vivian is light hearted fun to read about.

The title refers to a play that is vastly different to the usual vaudeville the Lily Playhouse presents, for which Vivian makes the costumes. As rehearsals progress, she rather predictably manages to get herself caught up in a sticky situation and as a result ends up being shipped off back to her parents. It all becomes a little muddled from this point in my opinion, although of course one needs to read to the end by now and as I mentioned, it is not ‘hard’ reading, so I did get there eventually – I read the whole thing cover to cover in an afternoon which should indicate how nice and soft and fluffy it all was.

However, there is a time and place both for great literature and for easy reading to pass the time with, and here’s one of the latter. It was a pleasant afternoon.