Not About Madonna


Pub Date: September 2011

Author: Whit Hill

Not About Madonna

“When I first met Madonna Ciccone, my initial assessment, even as I watched her leg soaring into an effortless front extension, was that I had little to learn from any young whippersnapper from Michigan … I felt no instant flush of warmth and trust the day we met … but somehow, a few days later, she was my roommate.”

So begins Whit Hill’s lively, engaging memoir that includes her college days with Madonna, and her subsequent life as a dedicated choreographer, struggling to make ends meet as her old friend achieved worldwide acclaim. Whit begins her reminiscence at age 19, and takes us through two marriages, two children, a career in dance and songwriting, and the loss of her relationship with a mother who hasn’t spoken to her in nearly 30 years. Her style is lyrical, funny, poignant, and she gives readers plenty to think about — including Madonna. But, Whit prefaces, “if you’re looking for dirt on a pre-fame Madonna, there are quite a few volumes of literature out there that will meet your needs better than this one … This books is a lot of things. And even though she’s in it, this book is not about Madonna.”


“It’s complex, it’s wise, it’s funny, it’s raw, it’s bittersweet, it’s all these things and more, this passionate memoir of Whit Hill’s. I am filled with admiration for her and her work—and I thank her for offering me a glimpse into her sweet world. I was moved to tears.”

—Lucinda Williams, Three-time Grammy Award-Winning Singer/Songwriter


“This gracefully written memoir is filled with fascinating portraits of college days and coming of age and love of family — and what it means to be a woman in this celebrity culture. The narrative is rich, generous, and very smart.”

—Patricia Bosworth, Biographer, Memoirist, Actor, and Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair


Not About Madonna is an Americana period piece, giving some fond farewell to an era that was so bittersweet, full of potential and the dream of free will. As Whit’s opposite in many senses, Madonna was the perfect foil in her search for self-knowledge. This is a Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman, but taken forward over decades. A real panorama, made with efficiency and simple eloquence.”

—Peter Sparling, Thurnau Professor of Dance, University of Michigan; Former Principal Dancer, The Martha Graham Dance Company