Snake Hips: Belly Dancing and How I Found True Love

( 5 )

Overview

This hilariously uplifting memoir follows an Arab American woman's merry life as she shimmies her way from getting dumped by her tattoo-artist boyfriend to coming to grips with being single, ample, and 30. Feeling lost and heartbroken, Anne Thomas Soffee moves back home to Richmond, Virginia. Against the wishes of her extended family and friends, she enrolls in a belly dancing class hoping to heal her heart and reconnect with her Lebanese roots. Her life is never the same after she discovers the riotous world of ...
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Overview

This hilariously uplifting memoir follows an Arab American woman's merry life as she shimmies her way from getting dumped by her tattoo-artist boyfriend to coming to grips with being single, ample, and 30. Feeling lost and heartbroken, Anne Thomas Soffee moves back home to Richmond, Virginia. Against the wishes of her extended family and friends, she enrolls in a belly dancing class hoping to heal her heart and reconnect with her Lebanese roots. Her life is never the same after she discovers the riotous world of American belly dancing, a warm and welcoming subculture where younger and thinner are not necessarily better. Wildly funny adventures ensue as a newly confident Soffee embarks on romantic adventures with a domineering sheik and a beautiful Lebanese boy-next-door. Among the zils (finger cymbals) and thrills of attending classes and performing in moose lodges and county fairs, Soffee is surprised to find happiness and true love along the way.


About the Author:
Anne Thomas Soffee is a belly dancer and special education teacher. She has been employed as a bookseller, gas station attendant, heavy metal band wrangler, freelance music journalist, tattoo parlor lackey, and voiceover actress for kung fu movies. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

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Editorial Reviews

USA Today
Soffee's conversational yet daring writing style helps readers identify with tough subjects: her breakup, alcoholism and family relationships.
People
Full of belly laughs.
Booklist
Soffee's witty, flowing prose draws readers in.
Boston Globe
Her prose sparkles and teases.
Virginian Pilot
It's a hoot.
Chicago Times
Lively, wry book.
Bust Magazine
Fascinating
Grace Magazine
Snake Hips is a hip, funny, and uplifting memoir...the perfect pick-me-up for the newly single.
Elle.com
Packed with offbeat characters that prove, once again, that life is funnier than fiction.
Body & Soul Magazine
Be sure to read this memoir before it gets made into a movie.
Elle Girl Magazine
Captivating.
Variety
A rediscovered sense of passion.
Salem Press
Winningly charming and funny.
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. Agent, Jane Dystel. (Oct.) Forecast: This manuscript was shopped to 20 publishers most dismissed it as too quirky until it found a home at Chicago Review. That quirkiness, coupled with excellent reviews in women's media, should make it a hot sell in indie bookstores. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A vigorous, funny account of the effects of blighted romance cured, sort of, by a course in belly dancing. Now an English teacher to troubled teens, newcomer Soffee recalls growing up in Richmond in a household dominated by her father's unpredictable but staunch Lebanese family. After a stint in California as a rock-star gofer (with all of the drugs and sex that implies) and alcoholism rehab, she slouched back home, her heart broken by a tattoo artist. After months of self-pity, over the protests of friends and family ("Your daddy ought to smack your face," said great-aunt Frances), she enrolled in a belly-dancing class. Her rationale was to preserve her heritage, her real motive was never entirely clear, but she exulted in it. Part of the pleasure came from her new cohorts, mostly 30- to 40-year-olds with wide hips and convex bellies. (No pressure here to be supermodels.) Once into the world of belly dancing, Soffee describes her adventures in show biz: entertaining at nursing homes, at private parties (delivering "bellygrams"), at county fairs, and, memorably, at redneck bars. She shops for costumes, attends workshops and conventions, and waits breathlessly for the performance of a fabled Egyptian who dances with 12 lighted candles balanced on her head. Caught up in the ethnic wave, Soffee spends hours on the Internet tracking down potential Arab mates, only to discover that belly dancers are regarded not as guardians of an ancient tradition, but akin to strippers and prostitutes. Soffee gives a rousing defense of serious belly-dance students and performers, announcing a happy ending as she finds love with an gun-toting Aryan who honors her belly-dancing commitment by presenting herwith a snag-proof engagement ring that wouldn't "get hung up on your veils." Spirited and engaging, even for those who don't have a yen to undulate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556525223
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 266
  • Sales rank: 1,016,209
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2002

    how I learned to make sense out of all those belly dance shows my ex-girlfriend dragged me to.

    Ms. soffee has allowed us to peer behind the curtain of the world of Belly dancing. And of the life of the suburban, thirtyish, single girl who has 'been there - done that' and managed to keep her sense of humor as well as her inner child. This is the story of an American girl who is too smart to stay home and smart enough to return to her roots when the going gets tough. This book is not only charming. But laugh out loud funny. Her style brings you into her circle of unique friends and makes you feel as if you grew up with the lot of them. I hope to see more of her writing in the not to distant future. Bravo!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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