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Lillian Boxfish's New York odyssey of walking to her favorite haunts, while reminiscing about her bohemian days as the highest paid ad woman at R.H. Macy's in the 1920's, her friends and foes, battle with depression, poetry, love affairs, marriage feminism, motherhood, and everything in between is both delightful and bittersweet. As a frequent visitor to NYC, I loved reading about some of its iconic places. This story spans several decades and covers quite a lot of cultural and political change. Lillian is a well-rounded, relatable, and flawed character, whose wit is a joy to witness as she uses it to master any situation.
This is one of those novels that will live in my mind for a long time. I found myself copying sentences thinking how much I want to remember and perhaps quote. I don't know a Lillian, exactly, but she reminds me so much of women mentors and friends throughout the years. Someone to admire and treasure while also gasping at her incredible intellect and the attached ego. What a dame!
It took awhile, but around page 50 LILLIAN BOXFISH TAKES A WALK began to grow on me, in relation to the title character, as well as author Kathleen Rooney’s writing style. It’s New Year’s Eve 1984, and octogenarian Lillian steps out her door to walk the sidewalks of NYC. For the next 280 pages the reader joins the spunky Lillian on her journey across Manhattan, which includes a number of memorable encounters with others she meets along the way. As she walks, Lillian looks back and reflects on the people and events that shaped her legendary life. Her experiences are shared with wit and compassion. LILLIAN BOXFISH not only pays homage to NYC over the years (1920s into the 1980s) but also salutes its central character, a strong intelligent woman definitely ahead of her time. Kudos to author Kathleen Rooney for her creativity, incorporating the writings of real-life inspiration Margaret Fishbank within this fictional story. If you’re in the mood for something original and different, look no further than the charming LILLIAN BOXFISH TAKES A WALK.
A fabulous read. The writer describes New York so vividly, I can just picture it in my mind. Ms Boxwood meets kind individuals on her very long walk through Manhattan.
A great read. I'd love to take a walk and end with a drink at a local pub with the fictional Lillian Boxfish.
I've read much of Ms. Rooney's work and it's all terrific. This stands out as perhaps her best yet.
Borrowed this book for my wife. She loved it. One day, I'll read it too. I expect I will also love it.
Lillian is the most wonderful female character that I've encountered in quite some time. Lillian, now 84, reminisces about her life during a long walk through New York city on New Year's eve, 1984. Born just before the turn of 1900, , she was the top female advertising woman for Macy's, quite a feat in those days. I love Lillian's spirit, intelligence, and her understanding of herself-where she's been and how far she's come. I treasure that I got to know her while I read the book and won't soon forget her.
A well-written and very enjoyable book. Lillian takes the reader on a long walk through the streets of New York City on New Year's eve (1984). As she walks, she shares the humour, happiness and some of the sadness of her life as a career "girl" in the 1930s, a published poet, someone who fell unexpectedly but totally in love (love at first sight) twice in her life (with the man who became her husband (who would have thought one could be hit by lightening while indoors), and with her new born son) -- the husband didn't last, but the son did -- and someone who feels that New York City is still her home (at the age of 84). But just a warning, some of the low points in her long life were very low indeed.
Octogenarian Lillian takes a walk in NYC on New Year’s Eve 1984. Ode to a city, ode to a well-lived life, ode to humor, pep, fun and laughter. Loved it.
Good to hear the story of the pioneer women in advertising. A lovely romp, intelligent writing inspired by a gifted copywriter. Glad I found this book.
I truly loved this story. Lillian opens herself up to the world and doesn't seem to care what you think. She is what she is and it's a wonderful blend of complex opinions and feelings. Lillian's voice reminded me of a grandmother or elderly friend who simply hoped to entertain your attention and share their perspective. While set in the 1980s, I felt many of Lillian's observations about people and finding the humor in the absurd were still great lessons for today.
4.5 stars. Within 15 pages of this book, I was already in love with Lillian Boxfish. I just loved traveling through 1980s New York City alongside this unique, complicated, spunky, and absolutely wonderful character while she reminisced about her life and experiences. And I was delighted to learn that Lillian is actually based on a real woman! An enchanting and captivating read.
I am in the middle re: this book. While there is some terrific writing, the story goes on far too long. It is hard to develop empathy with the main character as her quirky personality seems at times lovable and at other times simple unbelievable.
I think the structure of the walk as a device to hold this story together does not entirely work. It becomes an academic device that has to be held onto for the sake of form.
I would love to meet Lillian Boxfish! I really enjoyed her look back on her life and her attitude towards all she has been through. I know wearing fur is bad but I loved her attitude when she decided to start wearing her mink coat often!! A slow, gentle read. Well, except for that one part.
Not worth reading as a book; worth reading for the prose Rooney writes, some of which is quite good. Lilian is 85 years old in 1985, so she’d be 117 years old today, and yet Rooney writes the character as if she’s a 35-year-old from 2017. Events of the past provide the setting of the book, but it’s a work of time-travel, sending an ultra-modern woman of today and projecting her into the past. It doesn't work.
This was well written but I did not like Lillian. I felt like the writer was pushing a politically correct agenda and, frankly, I didn't really like the way Lillian handled situations in which she found herself. Bleah.
On New Year's Eve 1984, Lillian Boxfish decides to walk her Manhattan neighborhood and reminisce about her long life (she's now 84 or 85 depending on what date she's willing to claim). What transpires is a glorious narrative of accomplishments, family, friendships, travel, regrets, unhappiness -- everything you'd find in a life well lived.
I loved this book. I loved the writing - full of wit, repartee, reflection, emotion -- I would reread passages because they were so beautiful. I was so caught up in Lillian's life and her experiences that I felt like she was REAL, only to discover that this book was influenced by life and career of the late Margaret Fishback, a successful advertising writer prior to WWII. Now I'm dying to read Margaret's original work, only to discover that they are all out of print (published in the 1930s, so that makes sense) and not available at the library.
This was an absolute treat to devour.
You'll love Lillian, her Orange Fire lipstick and glorious attitude! An ode to a life lived with spunk and wit, and a tribute to Manhattan at its finest.
Come take a walk with Lillian Boxfish as she traverses the city she calls home. Along the way she meets a cast of characters including a chauffeur, clerks, bartenders, and a few criminals. Lillian reflects back on her life set against the backdrop of NYC from the days of the Depression through World War II up to the hip hop 80s. So beautifully written you will walk every step with her.