Snake Hips

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Anne Thomas Soffee has lived a wild life since her days attending St. Anthony’s Maronite School. After time spent as a heavy- metal groupie and battling her way back from drug and alcohol addictions, she thinks she has found a sane life teaching emotionally disturbed children earmarked by the juvenile justice system. Then her tattoo-artist lover dumps her and, to cure her broken heart, she decides to take belly dancing lessons at the local recreation center. Claiming a need to explore her Lebanese roots, and finding that her less-than-svelte figure is the ideal body type for shimmies and hip rolls, she embarks on a hobby that leads to hilarious escapades in and around Richmond, Virginia.

Soffee finds the sub-culture of belly dancing is much like sorority life, with some groups being very selective and some admitting all comers. Starting with dancing at local Moose Lodges and at county fairs, she gains experience and moves up to being hired to do bellygrams and musical gigs in bars. Along the way she constantly searches for Mr. Right, setting her sights on Arabs and hoping they will give her dark- skinned babies to counteract her feelings of inferiority over being too pale. Totally open to whatever is required, she is willing to convert from Catholicism to Islam or born-again Christianity. Finally, when just being herself, she stumbles upon a man who suits her in every way and he proposes to her.

Soffee’s style is sometimes vulgar, perhaps politically incorrect, occasionally scandalous, but winningly charming and funny.