Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When Your Hair Falls Out, Keep Dancing, by LeslieAnn Butler

ISBN: 9781933449586 - Nightengale Press (8/08)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (6/08)

Losing one's hair is probably high on the "disaster" list for most people, and I would imagine even higher for women than for men. That is why I found it so surprising - in the best possible way - that the cover of Leslie Ann Butler's " If Your Hair Falls Out, Keep Dancing!" is so cheerful looking and so attractive. Looking at the cover illustration one cannot help but feel joyful and uplifted; having said that, I need to add that the author's artwork, included throughout the book, lends a similar upbeat, positive tone to the entire book and makes it visually extremely appealing.

Leslie Ann Butler wrote a tremendously important and impactful book for people suffering from the auto-immune disorder called alopecia areata, which affects nearly five million people in USA. Having been affected herself - and with the most severe form of it, leading her to lose all of her hair everywhere - she is in the position to be not only highly informative, but also highly personal and compassionate in her writing. The book stays upbeat, giving hope - but not false hope! She offers advice for just about any "sticky" situation a person with alopecia areata might find her- or himself in.

The opening chapters deal with the facts about this immune disorder - what it is, what could possibly cause it (nobody really knows...) and what could help alleviate it. Later chapters deal with the day-to-day living with alopecia areata - when and whom to tell about it, how to deal with your hair loss in different "extreme" situations (think sports and sex...), how to travel with wigs, how to choose the right wig and how to deal with loss of eyebrows and eyelashes as well as what your options are in such situations.

The last few chapters, while still practical, really deal with this condition from the psychological perspective, helping one accept the hair loss and coping with it in a positive fashion, as well as even finding some positive aspects in it. No more bad hair days, anybody? How about not having to pluck those pesky stray facial hairs ever again?

The Resources section at the very end of the book should prove to be an invaluable selection of contact information for both the general information about the disorder and sources for wigs and other items the alopecia areata sufferers might need or want.

Warm, upbeat, but first and foremost realistic and informative, "If Your Hair Falls Out, Keep Dancing!" by Leslie Ann Butler, would benefit anybody with alopecia areata or anybody who in any way cares for or about somebody with it. Gorgeous illustrations turn it into a work of art and the written part turns it into a very valuable resource and a deeply wise work.

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