by Elizabeth Gilbert
What an interesting book! I’m sure I found it more interesting than the average person because it takes place in the 1940s in the Theatre District of New York. I am a lifelong New Yorker and someone that spent her life in theater, watching it and performing in it. So I was enthralled by Vivian‘s life story. And what a protagonist! She is strong, spunky, risqué, fascinating, and definitely ahead of her time.
The book is narrated completely by Vivian as an old woman looking back on her life and telling a tale to the daughter of a man that was very important to her a long time ago. It sets it up nicely for a narration where everything has happened in the past and she can reflect back on it and also make sense of it after the fact. The first half of the book is basically all about Vivian‘s personal and sexual awakening. Let’s call it a coming of age story. The second half of the book takes on a much more serious tone as it deals with the later years after World War II. In that sense, the book feels a bit like coming-of-age meets historical fiction.
I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator is absolutely fantastic. You feel like she is speaking directly to you, probably because the entire book is a story that she is telling to someone else. So if you’re looking for a great audiobook, I highly recommend this one.