- Wide Awake
- By Patrician Morrisroe. Spiegel & Grau, $25.
Patricia Morrisroe has suffered from insomnia her whole life. As a kid, she’d check beneath her bed 12 times a night for the “Commu-Devil,” a hideous resource-redistributing demon. She’s also tried sound machines, sleep restriction and Arctic Circle vacations. Her book, Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia, frustrated me. Morrisroe’s experts don’t agree on anything. One says keeping rats awake with cold water kills them, another that insomniacs live longer than their well-slept counterparts. So sleeping well is either life-saving or life-threatening? Got it. I like Morrisroe’s writing style, a lot, but sometimes I feel like she’s playing dumb with me. Her psychotherapist suggested hypnotism. “I immediately picture an evil Svengali with a flowing black cape, Brylcreemed hair, and a buxom assistant named Lola,” she writes. So an educated woman isn’t familiar with hypnosis as a clinical tool? I’m not buying it. I’m going to bed. Good night. Don’t let the Commu-Devil bite.