Lillian on Life

Written by Alison Jean Lester
Review by Viviane Crystal

Lillian is a single woman who lives most of her life dating different men. This is the story of how she values each of them, mostly on a temporary basis during the ´50s and ´60s in New York. Raised in a very traditional family, Lillian never appears without lipstick and dressed to the hilt. Lillian seems cool in her description of her mother and yet reveres her father, who seems phenomenally kind and sensitive to the needs of others at all times.

For Lillian, her need to find her father in any of the men she meets is alternately inspiring and absurd. Such men just don’t seem to exist; and if they do, they have other quirks that jettison them off Lillian’s permanent love quest. It really isn’t that she’s looking to be married; at least that’s what she says until some things she admits at the very end of her account. Yes, Lillian is definitely a “hottie,” as she would be labeled today, and cannot stand to be without a man in her life. One does lose count after a while of her lovers.

One problem with these brief encounters is that we never really get to know Lillian. What motivates her? What exactly is she looking for in a man? How does she handle life after she has an abortion? Only at the end does the reader get an inkling of how this event scarred Lillian’s life. All in all, this is an okay read which is historical only in the sense of alluding to the social mores and values of a particular time in the 20th century.