Snake Hips: Belly Dancing and How I Found True Love Hardcover – Oct 1 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
After being dumped by her loser boyfriend, Soffee, a "sober, nerdy, rock 'n' rolling, coffee-drinking, school-teaching, erotica-reading, kitsch-loving Lebanese American" moves back home to Richmond, Va., to wallow in self-pity. There, she comes across a flier advertising the usual classes in yoga, vegetarian cooking, ballroom dancing and... belly dancing. Her girlfriends think she's lost her mind, but Soffee knows she's found the perfect distraction. Not only does belly dancing have nothing to do with her ex, it's a fine way to reconnect with her Lebanese roots. Plus, "it is a relief to be part of a subculture where younger and thinner do not automatically equal better." Soffee learns to roll her hips, shimmy and make her stomach poof out; spends wild amounts of money on the tackiest costumes imaginable; and most satisfying discovers the ultimate cool of "belly dancer bonding." Her ethnic high leads to marital fantasies, e.g., being "third-favorite wife" to a young sheik she's cyber-dating, although she admits "being obedient is easy on-line." She also has flings with an insufferable Iraqi yuppie and a born-again Lebanese boy-next-door all hilarious disasters. Soffee's women friends keep her from feeling too lousy ("[t]he good thing about girlfriends is they usually hate your exes before you do") until Mr. Right catches her by surprise. While there is a lot of information on the belly dancing culture, this is not a how-to book, although an appendix lists resources for the interested. What Soffee's really offering is a guide to mending a broken heart: embrace a totally distracting activity, bond with your girlfriends and don't forget to laugh.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Soffee found the cure for her broken heart in her own belly--belly dancing, that is. In a larger sense, belly dancing was something she could throw herself into, a focus, a passion, almost a calling. In this engaging memoir, she recounts how her life changed for the better when she took up the ancient art after her too-cool tattoo-artist boyfriend dumped her. The half-Lebanese Soffee had always wanted to learn more about the Arab side of her heritage, and belly dancing provided the opportunity to explore the music and culture of the Middle East. Along with describing her obsessive listening to Arabic pop music and her late-night Internet searches for information on belly-dance greats past and present, Soffee shares her ongoing dating adventures, including the Emerati millionaire she meets online, the Arab American history professor who offers wine to the 12-stepping Soffee, and the born-again guy who avoids "appearances of evil" in public and wrestles Soffee to the bed in private. Memoirs that chart personal journeys toward self-acceptance often seem self-indulgent, but that isn't the case here. Soffee's witty, flowing prose draws readers into this unlikely but captivating story of how a "sober, nerdy, rock 'n' rolling, coffee-drinking, school-teaching, erotica-reading, kitsch-loving, Lebanese American belly dancer" came to terms with herself. Beth Warrell
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
My advice? Even if you aren't interested in belly dance, buy this book and read it any way. The style is edgy, hip, and funny and the moral of the book--that you have to accept yourself the way you are before you can achieve any sort of personal fulfillment--is ultimately very uplifting. I came away with a lot of respect for Ms. Soffee as both a dancer, a writer and a survivor.
One thing I really enjoyed was hearing more about all these familiar names. I'm hearing names of people that i've heard of before, seen before (Morocco) talked to in email when ordering stuff(Lucy), or even know somewhat(Anthea). It really shows what a small world this is. Not every day do you read about people you know in a book!
I bought this book because of the bellydance, but also really enjoyed the whole single 30s woman relating and coping and trying to find true love part. There seem to be a number of books on that line lately, and I tried to read a few of the more popular ones. A couple were just so silly and unrealistic, I couldn't relate, and quickly ended up flung against the wall to land in the bad bad book heap. Anne's on the other hand is very intelligently written. She's not talking down to us. She's someone I could see hanging out with. She's real. Though I haven't had quite the adventurous heavy metal tatoo past that she has had, I could still totally relate. Its a very down to earth book in that way.
Anne if you read these come to Michigan and do a book tour please! There are lots of dancers here, and plenty of arabic culture too. Arabic night clubs and a whole stores with just arabic music.
To be American, it's more or less likely that you came from elsewhere. To be human, it's definite that you've had one failed relationship. And when autobiographies are done right, they're like this-- an ordinary storyline told with sincerity and humor (some of it wry) and the more elusive flow, most often described in reviews as a "good ear." Don't miss out.
Most recent customer reviews
As a Lebanese Canadian woman (well..half Lebanese on my dad's side - but just like Anne!) who is also learning to belly dance - and getting in touch with my Lebanese roots at the... Read morePublished on March 30 2008 by Shepherdess Extraordinaire
I fell in love with belly dancing about 2 years ago and I came across this book on the web. After reading the feedbacks on Amazon, I bought it. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2005
This book had me laughing out loud, just ask my boyfriend! I couldn't put it down. I loved all her stories about her belly dance life and her relationship horror stories. Read morePublished on June 3 2004 by E. L. White
I picked this book up when I was in the process of collecting any and all info on mid east dance - I really enjoyed it as it was an easy read with a lot of personality behind the... Read morePublished on April 6 2004 by Lilac Frost
This book has everything you loved about The Big Fat Greek Wedding. It's a funny and endearing look at self-discovery. I loved it.Published on March 1 2004 by taaj
"Snake Hips" should be required reading for all beginning bellydancers, those healing broken hearts, and anyone daring to live life with gusto. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by Jennifer S. Willis
A great light-hearted read for anyone who has known heartbreeak, or even if you haven't! Although it is not necessary to know how to belly dance to enjoy this book, it does give... Read morePublished on Dec 7 2003
I am a beginning Dancer, but have been through a few similar situations (who hasn't been dumped?) and love Ms. Soffee's style of writing. Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2003 by Gertrude Ezell
I absolutely loved this book. It looks a little at the history of belly dancing and tells a story of the road traveled to really find something the writer needed and wanted. Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2003 by marsha womack
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