BookBrowse Reviews Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

by Kathleen Rooney

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney X
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
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    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2017, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2018, 304 pages

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A spunky older woman reflects on her career and life as a wife and mother as she strolls through the Big Apple.

Charming Lillian Boxfish stole the hearts of First Impression readers, many of whom could relate to walking in her shoes. The novel won a 4 or 5 star-rating from 33 out of 39 reviewers, a commendable achievement.

Our readers enjoyed getting to know Lillian

First-time author Kathleen Rooney introduces us to the fascinating character of Lillian Boxfish by allowing us to stroll through the streets of New York City with her. It is New Year's Eve, 1984, and Lillian is revisiting some of her favorite haunts which allows us a glimpse into the amazing life of this singular woman (Sheila S).

I loved Lillian's spontaneity, her fearlessness, and her honesty which enabled her to be who she was and to interact with people of all ages and walks of life (Barbara H). She was an advertising executive and a poet, a feminist and a wife and mother. She is charming, witty, friendly, fearless, and indomitable, and she makes for a great read (Sheila S).

Readers could empathize with Lillian's struggles...

Lillian Boxfish has led the quintessential New York life and we learn her story as she walks around on New Year's Eve 1984. Through her memories we learn about her successful career, less successful marriage and the evolution of women's rights in the 20th century. Her story reflects the story of many women trying to find work-life balance even now (Kate G). Feminist, intelligent, independent, creative, authentic, a woman attempting to balance career and family during a time when it was next to impossible. Lilian is a woman you want to be, hope to be, dare to be, her rawness, brutal honesty and ownership are mesmerizing (Mal H).

...and enjoyed the charming historical nuggets

[The novel is] at times laugh-out loud funny and at others, poignant, and packed with wisdom (Beth B). It is filled with bits of history, manners, and even rap music—from the iconic Delmonico's Restaurant to the building of the World Trade Center, from calling cards to the demise of written correspondence, and from the joys of being a mother to the bitter depths of depression (Nancy L). Kathleen Rooney has captured the essence of a New York woman from a time gone by. In doing so she also shines a light on a part of New York history that is quickly fading (Marcia C).

A few readers didn't care for the pace

My one criticism was that the walk was a bit too long. I was ready for Lillian to get home. I was exhausted (Carol S). The story of Lillian Boxfish was slow. It was nice to have a book focus on a strong independent woman, however I did not find her life interesting. There were too few characters and not enough plot for me (Debra L). The book started slowly, and I never fully felt invested after. The title character had a lot of pluck, which is what saved the novel for me, but it's a slow read (Mollie W).

Highly recommended for...

This wonderful book will inspire all who read it to live life with a bit more gusto and openness (Barbara H). The author uses humor and the English language beautifully to tell this charming story that many book clubs will enjoy. I think this will be one of those novels that will sell by word-of-mouth from librarians and booksellers (Nancy K). I would encourage anyone who lives, has lived, or who has thought about living in New York to open this book and meet Lillian Boxfish and her passion for New York (Marcia C). This novel will make a great book club selection as it contains many issues and themes that we all face at some point in our lives—aging, death, mental illness, etc. (Amy P). Lillian is the master of the fine art of making a point while remaining civil and distinguished, something we could all take note of today (Patricia L).

This review was originally published in January 2017, and has been updated for the April 2018 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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