Review: 9 1/2 Narrow
Patricia Morrisroe has always been drawn to shoes and tells her life story through the shoes she’s worn.
While I can’t always recall the dresses or coats I wore on various occasions, I have a vivid memory of the white Mary Janes that represented my first shoe “crush”; the confirmation wedges that celebrated my entrance to adulthood; the red patent-leather Puma sneakers my husband sported on our first date; the gray ostrich flats I wore to a girlfriend’s funeral; the New Balance sneakers I bought my elderly mother, who was losing her balance and was too proud to use a cane.
9 1/2 Narrow: My Life in Shoes is Morrisroe’s story told in vignettes around the shoes that marked the occasions. I’m going to admit to being shallow here and say that I was initially drawn to this book because I wear the same size shoe as Morrisroe. Morrisroe’s story isn’t particularly unique but her way of telling it is and I was charmed by it. She starts her story when she was ten and longing for a pair of white Mary Janes and ends it after the death of her mother and the discovery of her baby book in which her mother inscribed, “She loves wearing my shoes.” In between, readers learn of her courtship with her husband and her difficult relationship with one of her sisters as well background on some well known shoe designers.
Morrisroe tells her story in a light, off-handed way and I found it to be a quick, fun read. I could relate to her obsession with shoes and like the way she framed each story around a pair of them. If you enjoy memoirs and/or shoes, you’ll want to pick up 9 1/2 Narrow.