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Kathleen Rooney (1) (1980–)

Author of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

For other authors named Kathleen Rooney, see the disambiguation page.

15+ Works 1,470 Members 100 Reviews

About the Author

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and the author of Reading with Oprah: The Book Club that Changed America; For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs; and a poetry collection, Oneiromance (An Epithalamion). She lives in Chicago.

Works by Kathleen Rooney

Associated Works


2017 (22) 2018 (11) 2020 (8) 20th century (6) advertising (33) aging (25) art (7) audiobook (26) biographical fiction (8) book club (11) BOTM (12) ebook (10) F (6) fiction (140) France (6) historical (7) historical fiction (61) Kindle (12) literary (8) literary fiction (9) literature (6) Macy's (6) Manhattan (6) memoir (8) New Year's Eve (7) New York (42) New York City (33) non-fiction (8) novel (13) NYC (16) own (7) poetry (13) read (13) read in 2017 (15) read in 2018 (12) read in 2019 (9) to-read (156) walking (16) women (12) WWI (17)

Common Knowledge

Places of residence
Chicago, Illinois, USA



This is a remarkable, well-written, unusual story about one day in the life of a quirky eighty-four-year-old (or maybe eight-five, if she were being honest) New Yorker. But, I should note, I tend to gravitate to a unique story or the way one uniquely tells a tale; Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk fills both these requirements for me.

I was more than surprised to learn that author Kathleen Rooney was neither old by any stretch, thirty-something young, nor she did write this novel based on her own grandmother's or any other elderly female's perspective within Ms. Rooney's life; she just made it up. Brava!

It's New Year's Eve, and Ms. Boxfish takes a walk, in the literal sense of the word. That's it. But she narrates as she travels through New York City, and we learn snippets of her life; where she worked, who she loved, her child, her ups, and her most significant downs. As the once most highly paid advertising female, Ms. Boxfish is quick, witty, well-mannered, and biting; my kind of gal. During her walk, she also tells of the people she encounters along the way, a security guard, a store clerk, a chauffeur, three would-be muggers, and each adds to her story as she seemingly adds to theirs. It's simply delightful.

If you are looking for an adventurous book, an earth-shattering ending, or ah-ha revelation, you will not find it here - what you will find is a proficient, unique, and charming story. After reading this, I aspire to be like Lillian Boxfish in thirty years.
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1 vote
LyndaWolters1 | 84 other reviews | Apr 3, 2024 |
This book is narrated by a pigeon, so I knew it would be good. A very unique historical fiction about the real life famous WWI homing pigeon that I had never heard about.
lneukirch | 6 other reviews | Feb 4, 2024 |
More of a 3.5?

Very mixed feelings here. I loved the concept and found the writing quite nice but I couldn't warm up at all to the character Lillian. When I made an effort to think of her as Mary Berry from the Great British Baking Show the book worked better for me but that took considerable effort and more often than not I found myself feeling irritated by her attitude. She seemed tremendously full of herself and unlike the people she stumbles upon on New Year's Eve walk I didn't find her at all charming or likable.

Reading the notes at the end and realizing that Lillian is based on a real woman was interesting to me. I did not appreciate the poetry or the ads that were sprinkled throughout the book but they bothered me less knowing they were the actual work of Margaret Fishback - the "real" Lillian.

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hmonkeyreads | 84 other reviews | Jan 25, 2024 |
I live in Chicago and visited Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle as a child and also took my children to see it. I was unaware of Moore’s stardom and her success as an investment advisor. Often when I read historical fiction that explores a historical figures life, I think that I would be better off reading a biography. Although I felt this away about this book, I feel like the fictionalization of her life made it a little more interesting.

My only disconnect with the book is that Doreen (Colleen’s fictional name) is telling her story through an interview with the museum narrating the details of the fairy castle. However in this interview she talks much more about her life than the fairy castle. Minor point but it didn’t hold true to me.… (more)
kayanelson | 2 other reviews | Jan 13, 2024 |



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