In 1988, the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe selected her to write his biography. A year later, several months after he had died of AIDS, the Corcoran Gallery of Art canceled the photographer’s “The Perfect Moment” exhibit. This spurred a heated nationwide debate about pornography as art and called into question the extent to which Congress and the NEA should be funding that art. When Mapplethorpe: A Biography was published in 1995, the noted art critic Arthur C. Danto, in The Nation, called it “utterly admirable… The clarity and honesty of Morrisroe’s portrait are worthy of its’ subject.” The Washington Post declared the book as “mesmerizing as Mapplethorpe’s stare in his self-portraits.”
In 2010, Patricia wrote Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia, which blended science, culture and personal insight to tell the story of why she – and 40 million other Americans – can’t sleep at night. Janet Maslin in the New York Times singled out her “deadpan funny” sense of humor, describing the book as a “fine firsthand look at insomniac eccentricities.” Five years later, as shoes were having a moment in popular culture, with women teetering in five-inch heels, she wrote 9 ½ Narrow: My Life in Shoes. The Wall Street Journal praised her talent for “funny and keenly observed details.”
With The Woman in the Moonlight, Patricia has stepped back in time, writing her first novel about 19th century Vienna and the tragedy and dynamic passion that inspired Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
In this riveting biography Morrisroe comes a lot closer to the real man and his times than have all the pious tracts and memoirs… Anyone who was there will find the book perhaps the truest picture to date of an important corner of the New York art and social world during the past twenty years… The book is a valuable corrective, and a major study of the darkly shaded life of an American artist.
The book is full of… funny and keenly observed details. Blessed be any woman willing to tell the truth about heels.
Brava to Patricia Morrisroe for creating such a lively and meticulously researched page-turner. Her touching debut novel is a tribute to the courage and sacrifice demanded both by art and what is commonly called true love.
Morrisroe hits the mark … A funny, warm and insightful trek through one woman’s life and American popular culture—a successful blend of form and function.
Morrisroe’s compelling work… provides intimate, often painful, details of [Mapplethorpe’s] rigid Catholic upbringing, the sexual obsessions that drove him to the gay S&M scene, and his intense relationship with rock singer Patti Smith and aristocratic lover Sam Wagstaff. The definitive biography.
Wide Awake manages to be both witty and informative, an absolute must-read for anyone looking to get the bottom of why Americans spend 20 billion a year trying to get a better night’s sleep. Morrisroe’s hard-won conclusion might just change your life.
Captivating and emotionally compelling. Morrisroe writes with intelligence and great wit.” Her spirited heroine is simply unforgettable. I could not put it down.
A weird, wonderful journey in search of a good night’s sleep.
Patricia Morrisroe sets out to cure her insomnia with help from America’s booming sleep industry, which peddles everything from Ambien to dental appliances. What she discovers along the way will aid anyone who worries they aren’t getting enough rest.
This ebullient memoir chronicles a woman’s life through the shoes she’s loved…Morrisroe shows how our footwear tells our stories and reveals our character.
Morrisroe’s sparkling writing carries her through. That her journey ends happily, with her discovery of Qigong, means readers will be as encouraged as well as informed, with as much on overcoming insomnia as avoiding snake-oil salesmen.
The best memoirs take us inside the person’s past and this is what Morrisroe has succeeded in doing brilliantly… you will be tossing and turning with amusement.
Patricia Morrisroe tosses and turns her way through the landscape of insomnia, taking us along on a guided tour so rich in literary allusion, sleep lore, and uniquely personal insight that I stayed up all night reading it. At once poetic, intimate, and surprisingly informative, Wide Awake is a self-portrait of the insomniac as authora story full of nuance, revelation, and surprise that might just as easily be subtitled, Alice’s Adventures In Slumberland. As for the title itselfI’m proud to share it!
Sensual, witty and deeply researched, The Woman in the Moonlight vividly captures the tumultuous romance between volatile genius Ludwig van Beethoven and his “enchanting girl,” Countess Julie Guicciardi. In a love story ripe with decadence and court intrigue, Patricia Morrisroe transports readers in an unforgettable romp through 19th century Europe.
A comprehensive study of the culture surrounding sleep.
“Soon, the titan had taken over my life. I wrestled with his music. I wrestled with his biographies. I didn’t have to wrestle with the decision to write the novel that became The Woman in the Moonlight; it felt like Beethoven had decided for me.”
An engrossing saga… The context she creates for him is extensive, and she documents it dazzlingly. The result is an illuminating portrait taken from more angles than Mapplethorpe ever used in his photography.
I love shoes and this delightful memoir shines a light on all things shoe, as well as all things personal. Patricia Morrisroe’s life unfolds through her wedges, ruby shoes, t-strap heels, and Manolo slingbacks. As I read it, all my memories came back in a flood, and yours will too.
9 ½ Narrow is an utterly charming — I might say fleet-footed — memoir about entering life with big (but narrow!) feet and bigger dreams. Patricia Morrisroe depicts the agonies of growing up as a born sophisticate in a Catholic family and a small town with an enviable lightness of touch — and a comic’s sense of timing. It is hard to read this book without laughing — or occasionally grimacing — in recognition at the truth of an observation or situation, leaving you wondering how someone else has figured out exactly how you feel about everything from getting a bad perm to Bergdorf’s shoe department.
Chatty and endearing, this episodic memoir flows … Morrisroe recreates many of her shoe lust milestones growing up in the 1960s in Andover, Mass., shopping for white Mary Janes, wedgies, Beatle boots, and ghillies…Straightforward and funny, Morrisroe proves to be a great companion as she navigates shoe stores, high heels, and foot fetishes.