Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (★★★★★)

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Kathleen Rooney   *   St. Martin’s Press   *   January 17, 2017   *   304 Pages

Advanced Reader Copy provided by publisher through Net Galley.

It’s 1984, and eighty-five-year old Lillian has decided she wants to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a dinner–alone–at her favorite neighborhood restaurant. But after she sits down at her table and realizes she isn’t even hungry, she decides to take a walk around her beloved New York City instead.

While she walks, she reminisces. She remembers her days as a marketing exec for R.H. Macy’s in the 1930s. She remembers her coworkers, her friends, her frenemies. She, of course, examines her (failed) marriage–the high moments and the very, very low. She remembers her son, her grandchildren–all the people she has gained, and all the people she has lost. And she ponders all of this with good humor, razor sharp wit, and, above all, elegance.

Lillian is basically everything I love in my most-loved characters. She is the odd, strong woman after my own heart. Pitter patter, both sing within my chest. She’s clever, unconventional, feisty, irreverent. She’s insightful and good-natured, generally content but still honest enough to be melancholy when it makes sense.

She’s resilient. She has the onward and upward spirit that won’t die, even in those moments she’d like it to. She is stubbornly, tenaciously driven forward. She knows herself and she hasn’t shied away from life, so, by now, she knows a few things. But she’s not trying to be better than anyone (most of the time). She’s trying to be the best Lillian she can be, and she doesn’t need to trample on anyone else to accomplish that.

In short, Lillian Boxfish is sassy class all the way, and I felt privileged taking this long walk with her. Five luminous supergiants all the way.

Also, if you like this one, oh man, I have a million (seven) suggestions for you: 

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