Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First edition
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"Lillian Boxfish writes, "I worked in a walnut-paneled office thirteen floors above West Thirty-Fifth Street ..." She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy's to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, "in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it." Now it's the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It's chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now--her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl--but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed--and has not. A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2017
Edition: First edition
Branch Call Number: FICTION ROO
Characteristics: viii, 287 pages : color map ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9781250113320


From Library Staff

It is nighttime in NYC, but that doesn't stop 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish from going out for a walk--because what goes on in the streets is what interests her. Sure enough, she encounters all kinds of people in moments of grace and generosity. The character of Lillian is based on Margaret Fishbac... Read More »

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Mar 28, 2021

I've been listening to this book on audio and am just loving it... one of the best "reads" in a long time. There is a beautiful perspective on life and its myriad experience as lived by a creative, honest octogenarian. I'm so impressed by this author that I will follow her to other books.

Sep 09, 2020

The relatively young author did an outstanding job bringing the eighty something character to life. I wanted to meet Lily myself! (The cover does the character justice.)

AndreaG_KCMO Dec 12, 2019

The story tracks Lillian's inward journey alongside her actual physical journey through New York City on New Year's Eve. The sharp-witted narrator interweaves her street "adventures" of that evening with stories of her rise and fall as a writer, wife, and mother. As the book progressed, I began to see a pattern to her recollections and felt the forward movement toward a climax in her past and in her present. I was pleasantly surprised that she did not linger endlessly over historical events (like the two wars that usually consumer memoir-style novels) but focused on a personal history.

Nov 17, 2019

It took me quite a while to get through this book; not because it was particularly long or a difficult read. It was actually neither of those things. But I am glad I stuck it it out. For I do not know if I could have lived the rest of my life without knowing how the New Year's Eve adventures of the lovely Ms. Boxfish concluded. I simply adore this women, tootling around the Big Apple, and the friends she meets along the way-though some are friendlier than others. In my later years, I can only hope to be half as fearless, friendly, and stylish as spunky Ms. Boxfish.

ArapahoeHolly Jul 26, 2019

Take a walk around Manhattan with Lillian Boxfish on New Year's Eve 1984 and you'll learn so much... about history, dignity... and maybe even how to grab life by the horns as you age. Loved it!

Sep 09, 2018

suggested by Annie P

JCLKarynH May 03, 2018

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.

LPL_BeckyB Apr 19, 2018

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!

Apr 03, 2018

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.

Mar 05, 2018

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.

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Apr 03, 2018

“If you love something, know that it will leave on a day you are far from ready.” - p.15

Apr 03, 2018

“Any day you walk down a street and find nothing new but nothing missing counts as a good day in a city you love.” - p. 172


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