Review: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

September 5, 2019

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

By Kathleen Rooney

St. Martin's Press

 

Lillian Boxfish knows a thing or two about a thing or two. The story was inspired, in part, by the life of Margaret Fishback, a poet and ad woman. In the 1930's she was employed by R.H. Macy and was the highest-paid female copywriter in the world. Ms. Boxfish was proud of this and enjoyed her job.

 

In many ways, Lillian Boxfish was her job. The minute she could no longer work, due to pregnancy, her life changed drastically. It was a sign of the times, women had to leave their jobs if they were pregnant. However, Lillian was a rare bird. Her favorite people, her work family, were at R.H. Macy, and she was not.

 

For me, the best part of the story is her trek around the city, NYC. She walked everywhere and talked to everyone. It was just after her 85th birthday and she remembered the restaurants, automats, and vendors she'd visited in the past. She'd been invited to a New Year's Eve party by a bohemian artist friend, Wendy. She flashes back to her younger days in the city as she wanders, looking for Wendy's apartment.

 

I loved the author's descriptions of Washington Square, Greenwich Village, and Times Square. I also loved that Lillian Boxfish ate a whole bag of Oreos before she set out on her walk. She's eccentric, quirky, and often full of herself, but Ms. Boxfish is definitely a character, a character worth meeting. I recommend this novel, especially if you like New York City.

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