Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney Book Review
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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney Book Review

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney Book Review

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney Book Review

The lowdown from Goodreads

Published January 17th, 2017

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.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney Book Review

The book “Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk” by Kathleen Rooney is about the character Lillian Boxfish (of course) who lives in New York City. She leads the reader through the streets of New York as she stops at different destinations celebrating the last night of 1984. As she walks, her memories flash back to the past.  She highlights the inspiring and important parts of her life as well as the dark moments that define her.

Initially, I had a hard time getting started with this book, but about 30 pages in I couldn’t put it down. I was intrigued by Lillian and her life. Lillian was a strong, opinionated, fearless career woman. She was the highest paid woman in advertising and a trailblazing poet. She was also a wife and a mother, who led a life that was heartbreaking as well as inspiring.

It makes you think about how you will reflect on your life when you are 85.  What will you remember? What will make you smile? Which events will make the most impact?  It also was a beautiful walk through Manhattan and a fantastic journey through the decades of the 1990’s.  You realize how much changes before your eyes without even realizing it.


I enjoyed Kathleen Rooney’s writing and the development of this wonderful character and story, which is inspired by a real person, Margaret Fishback. I am Really Into this book.  It is a must read!

Special thanks to Kathleen Rooney, St. Martin’s Press & NetGalley for providing my copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.

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About the Author: Kathleen Rooney

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney Book Review Goodreads

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, and a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a team of poets and their typewriters who compose commissioned poetry on demand. She teaches English and Creative Writing at DePaul University and is the author of eight books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including the novel O, Democracy! (Fifth Star Press, 2014) and the novel in poems Robinson Alone (Gold Wake Press, 2012). With Eric Plattner, she is the co-editor of René Magritte: Selected Writings (University of Minnesota Press, 2016 and Alma Books, 2016). A winner of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine, her reviews and criticism have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times MagazineThe Rumpus, The Nation the Poetry Foundation website and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay, and her second novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, was published by St. Martin’s Press in January of 2017.


Momma, wife, baker, reader & smart ass. I am Really Into doughnuts, inside jokes, trash TV, pizza, 48 Hours & George Michael.

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