THE BELLY DANCER IN THE BARREL OF OIL, by Rebecca Newman
A sexy, naive woman, divorced and left with two small children, tries to shield herself from the slings and arrows of thoroughly outrageous fortune by donning the psychological-philosophical armor of pessimism. But realizing that wise-cracking offers only temporary relief from despair, and that true pessimists wind up falling into a hole and staying there, through sheer force of will, she pulls herself out of the hole and seeks gainful employment.
Through a series of what she believes to be fortuitous circumstances, she manages to use her previous experience as a serious, artistic dancer to land a job -- as a belly dancer. And while she jiggles she also juggles her family life, maintaining the stability of her home while appeasing her wise old grandmother by telling her she teaches dancing in an adult education class. "But 'till two in the morning?"
In a series of Candide-like events, hilarious yet poignantly illustrative of the human condition on both a personal and global level, she moves from a sleazy Los Angeles night club to the Nile Hilton. Abducted into a harem from which she is soon ousted, she becomes infatuated with a handsome terrorist who involves her in an internationl intrigue. Soon she is disillusioned again as her hot-eyed idealist turns into a cold-blooded murderer.
The reader is quickly drawn to this innocent yet worldly, vulnerable yet strong-willed woman as she battles to support her family -- gyrating physically and mentally from one misadventure to another. Will she extricate herself from the Mideastern intrigue? Will she be able to fight off the lecherous Sultan? Will philosophy, her grandmother's old-world values, her grit and wit enable her to keep from drowning in the "barrel of oil?" Read this book and weep -- and laugh uproariously -- as this modern woman strives to liberate herself from modern man's toils.