Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk Book Review

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk Book Review

Regan Mies

New York City in 1987 is a dangerous, gritty place. But for Lillian Boxfish, the city has been home since the early 1930’s, and she can’t imagine ever having to leave. It’s New Year’s Eve, and an elderly Lillian walks the streets of her city and remembers its history—the age of Jazz through World War Two, the Great Depression to the creation of rap—as it paralleled her own history—a career as the highest paid woman in advertising and its consequent fame to the bittersweet birth of her son and the new life that followed.

 

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk is itself a slow walk through a changing city. The novel is a narrative of memories and the decisions that change a life: powerful, poignant, and nostalgic. Lillian Boxfish is a witty and remarkable character, one even I—being not-quite-a-quarter of her age—can relate to. Her interactions with bartenders and grocery store clerks, old watchmen and young artists show deeper aspects of Lillian’s character and present readers with layers of a city that are both surprising and enlightening.

 

Lillian Boxfish is a woman I’d like to someday meet while sitting in a city cafe or walking through Central Park. She’s someone whose traits and virtues I’d like to work toward, and she’s someone whose story I’d love to keep reading. The simple, moving prose of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk is a love letter to the big city experiences of a compelling individual.