Belly Laughs: Adventures with Celebrities and Other Unusual Characters Paperback – Jun 1 1999
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One of the things that disappointed me most about the book is the story telling style. Long states at the beginning that he's not trying to embellish the stories or take them over, but we constantly get little bits of Long-ese (definitions of words he uses), and somehow I don't think all these belly dancers used Long-ese a lot. It's like he's constantly trying to remind us who's writing the book. He also crams the table of contents onto two pages in small type, but has no problems putting a definition of Long-ese on the page in large type, and then devoting the entire next page to a definition of 'buckwheat.'
A lot of the stories weren't funny, or didn't have a whole lot to do with belly dancing. The last story of the book is a narrative about one belly dancer's obsession with The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. There isn't any mention of belly dance in it, other than the person who was obsessed with him saw his wife dancing. Another one deals with one belly dancer's husband accidentally eating 'funny' brownies and then driving 10 miles an hour down the road.
The book isn't a total waste though, there are a few funny and interesting stories, one about a python that farted feathers, another about how a belly dancing cousin warmed up a somber wedding, and another about a mishap a dancer had when she danced with Omar Sharif. Other than that, there's not a whole lot of really good stories. If you're really interested in sorting through the bad to find the good, then order the book. If not, try to pick one up used or see if the library has a copy.
I also got annoyed with the emphasis on celebrities. Many of the stories featuring celebrities were simply not all that interesting, and would have been too weak to include in such a book if the main characters had been no-names. To me, they came across as gratuitous name-dropping.
Still, it was nice to see a book that painted a realistic picture of what it's like to be a belly dancer, and some of the stories were rather funny.
Most of the stories don't even have a humorous element as they are little more than celebrity name-dropping, and even the potentially funny stories are killed by Long's lack of talent and his trying to make himself the center of attention.
If this book is an example of Long's comedy, his live "performances" must violate the Geneva Convention.