RECENT READS: Reviews of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and Church of the Dog

Kathleen Rooney has written a fascinating book about a fascinating woman in Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. The novel is based on a real person, Margaret Fishback, who lived in the 1930s and published witty poetry and several books. Like Margaret, Lillian, the fictional character works for many years as an ad writer for Macy’s Department store.The story takes place in one evening and night, New Year’s Eve, 1984, in Manhattan, as Lillian Boxfish walks alone for a total of ten miles.  As she walks, she considers her life, which covered ” ” from “the jazz age to the AIDS epidemic,” “from the Great Depression to the birth of hip hop.” It not only explores the changes in Lillian Boxfish,but the changes in N.Y. specifically, and the US in general.  Lillian is extremely openminded for an octogenarian, and is flexible to at least accept change as it throws itself at her. As a reviewer said, “There is a little of Lillian Boxfish in all of us. And if there isn’t, there ought to be.”

Another book I finished this week was Kaya McLaren’s Church of the Dog.  Interestingly enough, it was originally published in 2000, then after input and advice from fans and book club appearances, the author re-wrote it, making extensive changes and re-published it in 2008. The novel is set in Oregon farm country among the many cattle ranches and “good country people” who occupy them. One such couple is the McRaes, whose lives are turned around and upside down by the appearance of Maura O’ Shawnessey, who has the “gift,” as the Irish say. She fixes up an old bunkhouse on the McRaes’ property which comes to be called “The Church of the Dog” by the neighbors because of it’s arched entrance and mural of a  friendly dog on the front. Surprisingly, a real dog, who looks exactly the same as the mural arrives one night in the middle of a thunderstorm, which Maura names Zeus, appropriately, since Zeus was the god of the thunderbolt and storm. The novel holds many surprises and completely redefines the concept of “family.” However, no surprise is bigger than the surprise ending. It is available in large print at the Alvin Library.


Author: Rae Longest

This year marks my fiftieth year in AAUW (American Association of University Women). The Alvin chapter was begun in 1947, and as a new, green teacher to Alvin Independent School District, I joined in 1968. In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015. Eventually Powerful Women Readers folded as an on-line book club, but I kept the title and turned it into a blog. (See "Introduction,"first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 28th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

5 thoughts on “RECENT READS: Reviews of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and Church of the Dog”

    1. Am having an AAUW meeting at my house tomorrow. It will be a brunch, and all I have to provide is the place, tea and coffee, and cookies. The weather promises to be rainy and bad, so there will be fewer in attendance (which is a good thing, maybe). I am anxious to have a silent auction for our scholarship fund, so I hope somebody comes!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. My ladies are gone, and the cat is a lot happier; so is My Better Half! Ha ha. One friend stated and washed all the stemware and loaded the coffee mugs into the dishwasher. Another left her delicious pasta salad for My Better Half’s lunch. I have such good friends!


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