The Brown Baggers met at the Central Library on February 21 to discuss Kathleen Rooney’s novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.
The novel takes readers on a journey around Manhattan in starting in the 1930s and ending in the 1980s. Lillian Boxfish is a “devout walker” in her 80s, walking around Manhattan on New Year’s Eve in a mink coat, and reminiscing about her past. Along her walk, she meets and talks with several interesting characters and thinks about how much the city has changed. Boxfish was an accomplished poet when she was younger, and was notably the highest-paid woman in advertising in the 1930s. But her career was cut short when she married and became a mother.
The Brown Baggers loved this book! Many said that they identified with the main character and found her behavior very relatable. Others commented on the witty dialogue and how Boxfish described people in interesting ways. They also liked how strict Boxfish was with manners and that she was such a strong and engaging character. They commented that she had a supportive best friend and a great social life, all while having a career, not just a job, which was unusual for women during that time period.
Readers also liked that the novel was set during New Year’s Eve- a time for reflection. The only negative comments mentioned about the book were that the main character’s breakdown didn’t seem as realistic as the rest of the novel. But readers understood why she may have been depressed and thought that her husband did not challenge her, some even wondered why she married him. Brown Baggers also liked that the novel was based on a real person, Margaret Fishback, and appreciated that Rooney did so much research for the book.
The Brown Baggers will meet again on Thursday, March 14 at noon to discuss Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.