I’m writing this review right after I picked up my signed copy from Waterstones, so I’m a happy soul 🙂 Just so you know, I LOVED this book and probably will re-read it from this beautiful hardcover. Thanks so much to Bloomsbury UK for my early e-copy.
Before I start, I’d like to mention a few things Elizabeth Gilbert wrote at the beginning of the book, which attracted me to it, and also explains the book very well. She says:
“I’ve longed to write a novel about promiscuous girls whose lives are not destroyed by their sexual desires” , then she introduces Vivian Morris, who’s our narrator and the main character of this book.
And Gilbert says: “My goal was to write a book that would go down like a champagne cocktail- light and bright, crisp and fun.”
So she did 🙂
This is a coming of age story of Vivian, a very likeable and vivid character. She’s 19 when we start following her, a college drop out coming from a wealthy family. She moves to New York to live with her eccentric aunt Peg, who owns a theatre, and then, her adventures begin. We follow Vivian until she’s very old.
I can easily say, Vivian is a character you’d want to follow, you’d want to listen to her stories because she’s very energetic, sassy, free and fun. I had a good laugh several times.
“I promise that I will try my best in these pages not to go on and on about how much better everything was back in my day. I always hated hearing old people yammering on like this when I was young. (Nobody cares! Nobody cares about your Golden Age, you blathering goat!) And I do want to assure you: I’m aware that many things were not better in the 1940s. Underarm deodorants, air-conditioning were woefully inadequate, for instance, so everybody stank like crazy, especially in the summer, and also we had Hitler.”
The book started very strong, I loved Gilbert’s heartfelt note, I loved Vivian right away. She was so ready to throw herself out in the world and welcome all the experiences that was thrown back at her. I think her attitude for life was a good reminder of ‘life is short’ and we mustn’t forget to live it while we can.
Gilbert gave so much life and energy to her characters that it really impressed me so much. They were all different than each other, all flawed, but amazing. Peg, uncle Billy, Edna, and many more. It was a parade of interesting people that we got to know so well. I just could picture all of them in front of my eyes, and I wished so badly I could transfer there to meet them.
For me, the highlight of this book is definitely how real and vivid Gilbert writes. It could easily be mistaken for a real memoir.
“I was long and tall, that’s all there was to it. And if it sounds like I’m about to tell you the story of an ugly duckling who goes to the city and finds out that she’s pretty, after all-don’t worry, that is not that story. I was always pretty, Angela. What’s more, I always knew it.”
Another thing is the historical time Vivian was in, 1940s. It wasn’t an easy period, when there was the war. Again, I felt like I was transferred to those times to New York. The amount of detail Gilbert put in her descriptions were so imaginative. The way she described the dresses, the society, the theatres, the effects of war on people, was just impressive. I loved it!
I wanted Vivian to be real so badly, I wanted her to be on TV so I could watch her telling her stories, even better, a friend so I could have coffee with her. It was also fascinating to watch her to get older and more mature. But, in any part of her life, she was interesting.
I had some time to think about this book since I read it. I find myself every day thinking about it. It doesn’t happen with a book often that you find something else to love as time goes on. I usually find myself memories disappearing oh so quickly, but this one is the opposite. All the goodness, details, richness Gilbert crammed in these pages come to my mind occasionally and I feel so happy every time I remember.
All in all, this book was fantastically written with a parade of the most interesting characters ever. Such vivid descriptions, a lot of energy, wit and wisdom poured down the pages. A surprise would pop out of the pages every now and then.
Lastly, I appreciate Gilbert’s portrayal of different types of women free from society rules and morals, and showing us what really matters.
I don’t know if I need to say I RECOMMEND this book with all my heart 🙂
Also, here’s what others say and I couldn’t agree more:
So, that’s it for today. I hope it was useful and as usual, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Thanks so much for stopping by and happy reading!