cover image 9½ Narrow: My Life in Shoes

9½ Narrow: My Life in Shoes

Patricia Morrisroe. Gotham, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-592-40924-2

Chatty and endearing, this episodic memoir flows rather organically in the capable voice of New York journalist Morrisroe (Wide Awake; Mapplethorpe: A Biography). A dedicated shoe hound since age 10, when her mother blurted out intriguingly that she actually had 12 toes when she was born (a confession the author was never able to substantiate), 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. Begging her practical-minded mother for the latest shoe craze for Catholic school entailed visiting Reinhold’s Shoe Store on Main Street, where the obliging salesman, “out of boredom or bad taste,” would bring Morrisroe something he claimed was the “latest thing for the boudoir.” As she grew into her elegant but problematic 9 ½ narrow feet, specific shoes initiated her into first love, such as the ruby ballerina slippers that allowed her to get into sexy character for her community theater group’s performance in high school, and the granny boots that she wore constantly during the Tufts-in-London college program where she fell for a Roger Daltrey lookalike. Straightforward and funny, Morrisroe proves to be a great companion as she navigates shoe stores, high heels, and foot fetishes. (Apr.)