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 WarrellCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved