Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel
by Kathleen Rooney
Hardcover- $13.95


“Transporting…witty, poignant and sparkling.”
?People (People Picks Book of the Week)

“Prescient and ...

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  "More Than a Walk Down Memory Lane" by nbaker (see profile) 12/21/16

The story of Lillian Boxfish isn’t a mystery nor does it contain a closet filled with secrets – but it is full of life. New Year’s eve 1984 finds Lillian taking a familiar walk (miles in length) around her beloved Manhattan neighborhood that provides her an opportunity to reflect on her life, accomplishments, disappointments and dreams. In her mid 80’s, Lillian has achieved much in her life -- making a name not only for herself but for woman, in general, in the field of advertising. Her witty remarks, poems and advertisements become a household name in the 1930’s. Somewhere along the way she finds love, loses her love and almost loses herself. Old and alone she is still a self-made woman, still trying to make and find her way in life. She is eager to embrace the future and is slowly losing her foothold on the past. The long night of December 31, 1984, is more than a walk down memory lane – it is a journey into the past, a glimpse at what might have been and a dream of what will be. It is a story of relinquishing one’s hold on the world and passing the baton to the next generation. It is a story of courage and fortitude. Oh, if we all only had the eyes and heart of Lillian.

  "Walking with Lillian Boxfish" by tcheer4life (see profile) 02/22/17

I went on this walk with her. I adored this book. Beautiful writing. Wonderful character driven book of an elderly woman reviewing her life while she walks on New Year's Eve. Could have been maudlin, but Lillian is and always have been a strong woman. Bravo Lillian and thank you Kathleen Rooney for bringing her into my life. I know I will read this over and over again. (This from someone with 4000 books on my TBR.)

  "OK" by Tbaker123 (see profile) 03/05/17

Well-written, interesting story. Our club liked the book, and we did have a lively discussion, however, we all agreed that we felt the book was a bit boring. We agreed that the main character was well-developed, but the story should have evolved and ended differently.

  "LIllian Boxfish Takes a Walk" by Carolynr (see profile) 03/27/17

It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.
As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—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.

This book is based on the life of Margaret Fishback who was a poet and ad writer for Macy's in the 30's. I believe i may have to take the author up on reading some of her poetry and books. Surprisingly to me, I loved this book. Not sure all her encounters are realistic in real life, but I loved reading her summary of her life as she wanders the streets of NYC on new Years eve. Would definitely recommend this. Excellent read.

  "Historic fiction based on a true story about the highest paid female advertising copywriter." by thewanderingjew (see profile) 03/31/17

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk, Kathleen Rooney, author; Xe Sands, narrator
Lilllian Boxfish certainly marched to the beat of a different drummer. She worked for R. H. Macy’s and wrote ad copy for them. She also achieved success writing poetry and limericks. Although she was single-minded and independent, disavowing her need for a husband, she eventually was smitten and married. That marriage produced one child and abruptly ended her promising career at Macy's.
She was born in 1899 and lived for 85 years, most of which she lived alone. When the problems of her life became too hard to handle, she took to drinking and eventually had a breakdown from which she recovered.
The novel takes place over a period of one day in which she is walking about 10 miles around New York City. As she walks, she reminisces about the success and failures of her past from the mid 1920’s until the mid 1980’s. She seemed to be a forerunner of the modern day women’s libber. She wanted parity with men in pay and responsibility and she achieved a great deal of her desires. She also encounters many people and engages them in conversations. In this manner, her life, and as a byproduct, the history of New York City is revealed. Many momentous topics were introduced like Prohibition, the sinking of the Titanic, World War II, the Spanish Flu epidemic, the Depression, the introduction of television, the Subway Vigilante, Bernhard Goetz; the building of the Twin Towers, the Aids epidemic, the Viet Nam War as she passed several famous restaurants and parks and engaged in conversations with strangers that she encountered. These subjects were not developed in detail, however. The charming New York City neighborhoods of Murray Hill and Greenwich Village with their parks and stores, and the Connecticut neighborhood of Greenwich were also mentioned, some to a greater extent than others, like Murray Hill, and they were very nostalgic moments for me since they were very much a part of my life, as well.
I didn’t always agree with Lillian Boxfish’s views, since she seemed to always side with the underdog and often disregarded the effect those underdogs, sometimes thugs and criminals, had on their victims.
I didn’t care for the way in which the narrator presented Lillian. She seemed almost disinterested, too matter of fact, and yet too sultry at times, as well, not exactly the type of personality I envisioned for the character who was strong and unconventional, more of a trailblazer and trendsetter in her day; yet the voice was more of a shrinking violet, to me.
Because this book was pitched as similar to “A Man Called Ove”, I expected to really enjoy reading it. While it was humorous, it was also heavy-handed and cloying at times with regard to an obvious effort on the part of the author to promote a liberal agenda. This detracted from my overall pleasure.
I did not know until the end of the audio, when the author and the narrator have a very informal interview, that the book was based on the life of Margaret Fishback. She was the highest paid female advertising copywriter, in the 1930’s, a time when few women even worked and when the country was reeling from the Depression. The poems and ads featured in the book were written by her.

  "" by mbheil (see profile) 04/26/17

  "Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk" by drbeth (see profile) 05/07/17

This is a fictional story of Lillian (based loosely on a real life advertiser for Macy's named Margaret Fishback) who was born at the turn of the century and is now 85 years old. She has lived through prohibition, the depression, two world wars and the introduction of the telephone, cars and TV. As we walk with her through New York City on New Years Eve, we learn about her life as well as all the changes that have occurred during her lifetime. I found it to be a very enjoyable and unique way to tell a story.

  "Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk" by klarerm (see profile) 05/12/17

We received a book club set from this website. We loved having an easy choice for this months selection. The book starts a little slow and one member couldn't get past the beginning. The rest of us enjoyed the story especially about mid way when Lillian starts her walk. Strong female character and even better that she is based on a real person. Give this book a chance for your club! It provided much discussion about the women in our lives and role models.

  "" by merrybee (see profile) 08/29/17

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  "Slightly interesting" by Gardening Gail (see profile) 10/16/17

May have been more interesting had I realized this was based loosely on an actual woman. In all, it barely held my attention.

  "What a Woman!" by phesselbart (see profile) 10/18/17

Our group thought that this book was wonderfully written, Lillian was so interesting, and the premise of the walk through New York was fascinating. We'd all have liked to talk with Lillian Boxfish and have a Negroni!

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  "" by Ljwagoner (see profile) 12/27/17

Fun book and story. Very well written. Reminds me of “A Man Called Ove””

  "What a Walk!!!" by lpollinger (see profile) 01/09/18

Lillian is 85 years old and it is New Year's Eve 1984. As a young woman she moved from Washington D.C. to NYC and was able to secure a job writing advertisements for R.H. Macy, eventually becoming the highest paid woman advertising copywriter in the country. She was also an accomplished poet having had several books published. On this night she decides to take around Manhattan.
The story is told in alternating chapters the present and the past. My bookclub will discuss it this month and I look forward to having a great deal to talk about.

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  "Lillian Boxfish takes a walk" by [email protected] (see profile) 12/28/23

Took a while to get into this book, but then finally got moving. Seemed a bit depressing.

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