BOOK REVIEW: ARTHUR WOOTEN’S DIZZY

By Nancy Novick

Unless you’ve been living in a media-free zone, stories of celebrities spinning out of control have become part of our daily conversation—a phenomenon that may lead to a serious case of compassion fatigue. But imagine a scenario in which a star’s glamorous life is derailed not by a descent into drug and alcohol addiction, but by a constellation of neurological disorders with a mysterious origin.

In Upper West Sider Arthur Wooten’s new novel, Dizzy: A Fictional Memoir, Broadway actress Angie Styles finds herself on top of the world one day and tabloid fodder the next. In relatable language, Mr. Wooten takes us along on Angie’s wild ride that begins with some benign symptoms that might just be case of TMJ or a stopped-up ear. Soon, however, Angie is unable to focus on stationary objects, has a roaring case of tinnitus, and must fight to keep from falling over when she walks across the room.

As her condition rapidly worsens, everything Angie has thrived on—celebrity, bright lights, music, flings with handsome chorus boys—is swept out from under her feet. To make matters worse, Angie’s erratic behavior and difficulty walking have the public convinced that she is one more casualty of the celebrity lifestyle.

After a frustrating round of doctors visits, Angie’s condition is accurately diagnosed as bilateral vestibulopathy and oscillopsia, disorders that may be easier to understand than to pronounce—they affect the inner ear and balance. While there are no cures for these ailments, with the help of her compassionate physician and a good-looking physical therapist, Angie begins to develop techniques to cope with her symptoms.

Angie’s way back to a new normal involves a series of challenges including confrontations with a difficult parent, fickle fans, revelations of secrets from the past, and a reevaluation of how she will live her life going forward. Based on Mr. Wooten’s own experience with these conditions, Dizzy is a fast read that combines the guilty pleasures of celebrity lit with a sympathetic treatment of a mysterious and frightening ailment. Dizzy: A Fictional Memoir is available on Amazon.

For more information about vestibular disorders and Mr. Wooten, visit www.arthurwooten.com.

Nancy Novick blogs about books, bookstores, and libraries at www.Stacked-NYC.com.

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