I have always wanted to read this book. I attempted reading the ebook in 2019 but I honestly couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I am not one to struggle and force myself to read books so I dropped it. Over a year later, I was trying to order books and I wanted a round figure for my order so I asked them to add this book. I figured if I couldn’t read the ebook, the paperback might be better?
Version I read
I read the paperback version and a lot of people have told me they prefer this cover of the book and tbh I agree! It was published in April 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing.
Summary of the book
Set in the 40s-70s in NYC, Vivian, an elderly woman basically tells the story of her life in a letter to a lady called Angela. Angela simply asked Vivian how she knew her father and her response was basically this 500 page novel. From when she was sent to NYC to live with her aunt who owns a theatre at the age of 17, till she was a grown woman, she tells us every aspect of her life – the good, bad and ugly. I really liked how flawed and imperfect she was and the level of growth was really amazing to see.
The book started off so good, the characters were great, the way she wrote about NYC in the 40s and the entertainment/theatre business was so good. In the words of @ekaiban, “it was so juicy, so vibrant, so alive”. I lived vicariously through Vivian and she reminded me a bit of myself when I was young, wild and free. She lived life on her own terms and it was good to read but towards the end, the book just fell flat maybe because her older years weren’t as thrilling as her younger years but I struggled a bit to finish.
She explores sexuality, friendships, love, war, loss, and family.
To be honest, the beginning part was good enough to earn it 4 stars and the fact that it’s a book filled with amazing quotes won me over.
It reminded me a bit of “The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo” but then it’s also quite different. I’d definitely like to see this as a movie. Elizabeth Gilbert is a fantastic story teller and I lowkey wish I listened to the audiobook.
Have you read this? What are your thoughts on it ?
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