Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
It is New Year’s Eve in 1984 and 85- year-old Lillian is heading out to a party to see out the old year and see in the new one. Why take a cab when you can walk and this is indeed what Lillian does and walks around the whole of Manhattan. This is the story based on the life of Margaret Fishback who took 1930’s New York by storm a city she loves. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk is a delightful and charming book written by Kathleen Rooney and is packed full with memories of a remarkable woman and a bygone era.
In her day Lillian was the highest paid advertising woman in the world a real force to be reckoned with. She moved to New York in 1926 when she just about old enough to look for a job. After a series of rejections Lillian was offered a job at R.H. Macy’s were she was to write promotions to advertise the great department store and all this on her own with no help. The advertising rhymes really catch on and then these end up being publishes.
During this story that takes place over just one evening Lillian recounts her life story and also the love of her life Max, for whom she falls head over heels. He is everything she dreamed of. They marry and she then has to leave her role when she is expecting their son. Lillian recounts the break-up of their marriage and a change in the life she had Lillian spells out how this affected her with some painful memories that are recalled.
Lillian may be in her eighties but she is still bright as a button and smart with it. She walks through Manhattan a city that she has loved since she arrived searching for a dream job. She passes sights and recalls memories from the past she befriends passers-by and people from all walks of life on that New Year’s Eve, bar tenders and even criminals. This is her city and Lillian is holding court.
A love letter to the city that never sleeps and the changing face of New York from the 1930’s to the mid 1980’s from the heady days of Jazz to the colourful and troubling 80’s. A wonderful and charming read and one that made me smile at the wit and charm of a wonderful and colourful character it is just as if both Lillian and New York have both grown old together. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney is published Daunt Books and was published on 29th June 2017 and is available through Daunt Books, Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.