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

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Carol T. (Ankeny, IA)

Walk thru a life
Lillian's New Year's Eve stroll thru Manhattan is really a stroll thru her life, the good and the bad, from her relationships with her mother, husband, son, and best friend, to how women were treated in the workplace. I was surprised that in 1935 she was able to keep working when she married. Very often women weren't able to in that era. Having to leave when she was obviously "with child" rings true for another 40 years. Excellent story telling.
Janine S. (Wyoming, MI)

A gem that should not be missed
Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk is a gem of a book and must read for anyone who enjoys good writing and delightful story that will enchant. Kathleen Rooney has managed to create a woman who has lived a life of great highs and experienced moments of great despair but has somehow prevailed to embrace life with guts and gusto and never looked back in the process. Lillian never fails to delight as you share her walk and her life. Her wit is nonpareil and most funny. I had many a good laugh! The book is beautifully written too. Ms. Rooney is an excellent writer who captures your imagination from the first sentence. You cannot but be enchanted by Lillian and Lillian's New York City of 1984. Don't fail to get this one to read. You will not be disappointed.
Linda S. (Arlington Heights, IL)

Memory lanes
As soon as I started reading this book I knew I was going to love Lillian and this book. Lillian Boxfish is 85 it's New Year's Eve 1984 and she decides to take a walk around her beloved Manhattan. I thought having the map in front of the book was very helpful. She visits haunts of her past and we meet some interesting and sketchy characters along the way. Lillian is a bright, interesting and courageous woman who is not afraid of introspection. What I also really enjoyed was the historical background comparing the 1930s to the 1980s. The book is so well-written that I learned so much without realizing it. Lillian Boxfish is based on Margaret Fishback's life. Margaret Fishback was the highest paid female advert writer in the 30s. It so interesting to me how a woman back then could even be as big as she was in her occupation. Talk about the beginning of feminism and equal pay ! I would highly recommend this book and will probably read it again. It is to be savored.
Christine (WI)

A Very Long Walk
I enjoyed this book very much. Lillian Boxfish is based on Margaret Fishback, who was the highest-paid female advertising copywriter in the 1930s. The entire book takes place on New Year's Eve in 1984 when Lillian sets out to walk from her apartment to the restaurant where she is planning to eat dinner. She thinks back on her career, her family, and the people she has known over the years during the walk which takes her through a large part of Manhattan, visiting many of the locations that have been important to her throughout her life.

I think book clubs would find much to enjoy and discuss, and highly recommend Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.
Laura P. (Atlanta, GA)

Lillian Boxfish is one cool lady!
Kathleen Rooney's novel-styled-as-a-memoir tells a story inspired by the life of poet and ad-woman Margaret Fishback, who was in fact the highest-paid female advertising copy manager in the world in the 1930s, during her career at R.H. Macy's in New York City. Lillian Boxfish is a compelling protagonist - feisty, ambitious, creative, independent, yet deeply flawed. On New Year's Eve 1984, 85-year-old Lillian takes a walk around Manhattan, visiting places important to her in her life in the city where she has lived since 1926. The visits allow her to tell the story of her life - her career, her marriage and divorce, her aging - as well as describe the changes in the city that she loves.

Lillian is both an adventurer and a philosopher, and her 10.4 mile walk (there is a map on the inside front cover of my book) gives her ample opportunity to demonstrate proficiency on both scores. Rooney's writing is wonderful; both the character and the setting pop off the page. There's dramatic tension on several levels : Will she ever get married? have children? What was "the Incident"? Will Lillian survive an after-dark walk around Manhattan? Every time one question gets answered another appears. What fun this was to read!
Nancy K. (Perrysburg, OH)

A Delightful Read!
I loved this book and consider it to be one of the best I have read in 2016, and I read a lot. It's 1984, New Year's Eve in New York City and Lillian decides to take a walk, a long winding walk to see some of her favorite haunts. She is 85 years old and fearless. We learn about the high and low points of her life and career thru the use of flashbacks.(The author's writing style reminded me of the novel Mrs. Dalloway.)The author uses humor and a beautiful use of the English language to tell this charming story that many book clubs will enjoy. I think this will be one of those books that will sell by word of mouth from librarians and book sellers. Don't miss it!
Nancy L. (Staunton, VA)

A Walk Down Memory Lane
The book, "Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk" by Kathleen Rooney takes place on New Year's Eve, 1984, and follows octogenarian Lillian Boxfish as she takes a walk around New York City, musing about her long and storied life. In effect, the novel is a love letter to "her" city. 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. Lillian is fierce, intelligent, and funny. She is a career woman ahead of her time and a published poet who is smooth, polished, and not afraid to speak her mind. This novel is definitely character driven and by a character who will resonate with me for a long time. I want to be Lillian when I grow up.
Sheila S. (Supply, NC)

Wonderful Debut Novel
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. 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. I will certainly recommend this to my book club.

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