Vivienne Morris, at age 95, decides to tell, and what a life story she had to tell. her life story. City of Girls focusses on issues such as female sexuality, feminism, loyalty, and relationships. As a member of a wealthy, social family, whose disinterest in their daughter is apparent, these were subjects that Viv had never considered. In fact, she had not thought about much, except love for her grandmother and her sewing machine.
After failing at College (she never attended a lecture) Viv is sent to her Aunty in New York City. Aunt Peg owns a rundown Theatre which showed productions of banal musicals, starring dancing girls and their “Wobbly bits.” It is here that Viv sews costumes and meets the other show girls, who live with the thought that life is fleeting, so experience everything now. They kindly arrange for her to lose her virginity (to a gentleman) and party hard every night. Drinking and partying and sleeping around become part of their nightly routine.
A famous actress Edna, who is a friend of Aunt Peg’s, comes to stay. She has just heard that her home in London has been destroyed in the Blitz. Edna is persuaded to star in a new play which becomes a great success and Edna takes on a mentoring role for Viv. She begins to teach her the “Rules of Life”, which lasts until Viv makes a terrible choice, betraying Edna, who calmly tells her that she is worthless and will never amount to anything other than ordinary.
Viv moves home in a daze that lasts for almost a year, then decides to return to New York City on her own. Meanwhile, World War Two has swept America into its turmoil, and we find our young woman working at the Navy Barracks. After the war, Viv moves in with Marjorie, from her theatre days, and together they work and form the family that Viv will always have her loyalty.
City of Girls is hard to put down as it will speak in many ways to most women.