Boozy Books: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Happy Friday, my nerd cactus friends! Today’s book pairing is for a book which I technically haven’t finished yet, but with less than 100 pages left I thought, “ah, to hell with it”. I may not be done reading Kathleen Rooney’s Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, but I’m decidedly in love with her writing as well as her main character. And the best part is that this is not the kind of book I generally pick up, so I was pleasantly surprised to be hooked within the first few pages. 

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk centers on the sassiest old broad I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting (so to speak) as she walks her way through New York City on New Year’s Eve 1984. Lillian Boxfish is an 84 – actually 85 – year old firecracker with a penchant for flamboyant fashion and a resume that includes poet as well as the highest paid advertising woman in the 1930s. The book isn’t particularly plot heavy as it leaps between the present amd Lillian’s recollections of her life. The result is the portrait of a woman looking back at her triumphs and regrets, built by the years of hard work and determination that set her apart from rivals, friends, and lovers. Her way of thinking and her ability to express herself make her incredibly charming and loveable despite hints of cynicism and loneliness. She is a character so well developed you’d think she was real…

In a way, I guess, Lillian Boxfish is real. Her story is based very loosely on the life of Margaret Fishback who, herself, was the highest paid ad woman in the 30s. But as per the author’s note, there is very little of her life reflected in the pages of the novel. It merely provided the inspiration.

Anyway, let’s get to drinking, shall we? Lillian Boxfish lived through the prohibition and later became an alcoholic, but as the old, reflective woman we see srolling through NY she is selective and restrictive about her alcohol intake. We first see her drink a Negroni and I’m all about it because – to the best of my knowledge – we’ve not done any pairings with Negronis. So go on and make yourself a Negroni, readers! All you need is some Campari, sweet vermouth, gin, and an orange twist for garnish. Delicious!

Happy reading!



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