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Not about Madonna: My Little Pre-Icon Roommate and Other Memoirs Paperback – July 6, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Heliotrope Books LLC (July 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983294003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983294009
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Whit Hill was born and raised in New York City, where she trained as an actor at the famed High School for the Performing Arts. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in dance. For fourteen years she was artistic director of a Michigan-based dance company for which she created over 60 dance and theater works.

A songwriter, she now lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee, where she writes and performs. She has written nearly 200 songs in the folk, country and Americana genres. She is the mother of two grown children, is somewhat obsessed with dogs and watches too much television.

Though she has made her living as a writer for most of her life (press releases, grants, theater and music reviews, musician bios, medical writing, crepe restaurant menus...) Not About Madonna is her first book. It is a memoir of Whit's life, as reflected through the lens of her junior year as a dance major at the University of Michigan -- sharing a tiny room with Madonna Ciccone. It is a book about two very different women who became close then drifted apart. It is about women artists in America, the secret life of dancers, and the sweet, disco-tinged innocence of life in the late 1970s. It is about mothers and daughters, loss and poverty, hope and fulfillment.

For more information about Whit Hill (blogs, music, etc.) visit

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
This is my favorite kind of book: it made me laugh and cry.
Julia K. Arehart
The vivid descriptions in this book took me back to campus, walking across the frozen tundra that was the Diag and ice bridge that was the walkway over Washtenaw!
A strikingly honest autobiographic story, well written with humor and sensitivity.
Carla Overduin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christine Schinker on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a Michigan native living now in Charleston SC. reading this book on a Saturday morning...full of homesickness for a snow day, Ann Arbor Michigan and the longing for the taste of youth. Whit (author) has just went on a kinda date with a guy named Colin, and Madonna just kissed her first girl, (I'm guessing her first). I'm finding it hard to put this book down and when I do, I just get butterflies about picking it up again. I'm delaying the inevitable end. I can't wait to finish it but don't want to get to the end either. This is not a book about Madonna as the title gives notice, it's more than that-way more, and I feel like I'm right there 'in it'.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Susie Keat on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I could give this book more than five stars, I certainly would! I already knew that Whit Hill was an accomplished writer (and singer, songwriter, dancer, performer, choreographer, friend and any one of a number of other wonderful things), so I was delighted when her first book was published. I express-ordered a copy, wanting to support Whit, and sure that I would enjoy the book over the course of a few days. The joke was on me -- I picked the book up at bedtime, thinking I would read a few chapters before falling asleep, and the next thing I knew, it was almost 6:00 a.m.! I stayed up all night reading (and finishing) this well-written and finely crafted memoir. I was in college in another state during the same time period as Whit and Madonna, so the memories of their college days catapulted me into a time warp of my own, as well. The book not only portrays Whit's struggles and joys while learning how to cope with a uniquely eccentric, dramatic, endearing and multi-talented roommate; it more importantly reflects the antics, actions and reactions of a young woman on the verge of discovering her place in the world, what it means to be truly happy and fulfilled, and all the steps and missteps we all make on the journey of self-discovery.

This book was written with pathos, profundity, humor, great wit, a touch of sarcasm, and in vintage Whit Hill style, all wrapped up in a delectable package of "truths and dares" that anchored me to my chair and made me oh, so glad that it was NOT about Madonna!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Music City Sue on August 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Well, as soon I had the privilege of reading NOT ABOUT MADONNA in manuscript (the author is a friend), I've been a huge fan. Since I'm helping to spread the word about this wonderful book, it's no surprise that I'm rating it 5 stars. But I'm not the only one--there are terrific advance blurbs and reviews that have been coming in from others, too, including this from ForeWord Reviews:

"Would we care one whit about Hill if not for Madonna? Likely, yes, because she's done what good memoirists who write well do -- make readers care about their less extraordinary lives. . . . The author has a sure voice, a generous tone, and rhythmically timed irony. There's a cadence and pitch-perfect pacing here not unlike an eighties pop song -- bright and springy. Other times, she's bluesy, reflective, and languorous. Hill's songwriter chops are clearly on display." --ForeWord Reviews (September 2011)

And from a couple of the advance readers:

"It's complex, it's wise, it's funny ... I was moved to tears." --Lucinda Williams, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter

"Gracefully written ... rich, generous, and very smart." --Patricia Bosworth, contributing editor, Vanity Fair

And that's just the beginning of the raves! I highly recommend this remarkable memoir.
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She's sold more than 300 million albums worldwide and is recognized as the world's top-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records. Yes, everyone knows Madonna, the star. But before she was thrust into the spotlight of fame and fortune, she was a college student at the University of Michigan and the roommate of Whit Hill, the author of this powerful memoir which depicts a time and a place and a coming of age of Whit herself as well as her "not-yet-famous" friend.

Whit really gets into Madonna's personality in the first part of the book and it's easy to see the outrageousness that later propelled Madonna to stardom. Both she and Whit shared unique and troubled relationships with their mothers as well as the reality of life in the world of modern dance. Yes, there is a unique portrait of Madonna here, but as the title suggests this book is really about Whit, her own life and its challenges. And I must say I came to really love Whit. That is why I was happy to discover that I loved the second part of the book even more than the first. And I think that any reader who initially started the book looking for information on Madonna will quickly be captivated not only by Madonna, but by Whit herself

Michigan is like another world to me and this book gave me a feel of what it is like to live there. I know it must be an authentic view because of the part of the book where she describes a New York I know. I felt her walking down the streets, could just picture the Soho loft she and her husband rented, and felt I understood her parents. Well, not exactly. Her mother's rude dismissal of her was a shock. And it really led to sadness for Whit. I never understood why. And I guess Whit doesn't either. That's the reality of life.
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