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Wide Awake

Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia by Patricia Morrisroe (Spiegel & Grau, $25.00, 266 pages)

Insomnia, a very serious subject for anyone afflicted by it, is given star treatment by veteran writer Patricia Morrisroe as she describes her quest for enough good-quality sleep.   The reader is brought up to date with a bit of family history, including her mom’s sleep problems, the terrors of Catholic school, and the remarkable fact that her grandfather – though he suffered from tinnitus – escaped insomnia.   Morrisroe delivers her tale in an enjoyable, chatty tone that she no doubt cultivated when writing for Vanity Fair and Vogue.   In this, her book is reminiscent of Lee Eisenberg’s Shoptimism.

Morrisroe illustrates her experiences related to sleep, or the lack thereof, with descriptions of the professional services of a psychologist, a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist – who knew there was such a profession?   She even went so far as to gladly embrace the notion of jet lag with the hope it would bring relief at the journey’s end.

Because sleep deprivation has taken on the image of an American affliction, drug manufacturers have geared up production of sleep potions with names like Lunesta and Rozerem.   This book includes a survey of this category of drugs, how they are perceived and how they worked, or did not, for the author.

Recommended.

This review was written by Ruta Arellano.   Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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