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Offering an insider’s perspective into the world of belly dancing, this text goes beyond the glitz factor of the artform to challenge assumptions people may have about it as suggestive or exotic. The Shape of a Hundred Hips is a memoir that juxtaposes dance and sexual assault recovery that takes the reader into the living room, bedroom, and dance class. It promotes the idea that people can gain insight and take greater control of their lives through intentional movement and artistic connection.
About the Author
Patricia Cumbie writes about women’s lives, dance, food, and travel. She is also the author of a young adult novel, Where People Like Us Live, and the winner of the Carol Bly Award for Nonfiction.
"Frank and fascinating: these words apply to Patricia Cumbie’s new book, a memoir. Her bravery is second to none. Raped as a teenager, living with family who settled for little, Cumbie fought for independence, and an understanding of herself consistent with her dreams and abilities. In short, she is amazing, and so is The Shape of a Hundred Hips. Descriptions and explanations of belly dancing—which she studied—are informative and enlightening, revealing how she grew into a maturity from which we can all take guidance. You will want to read this book now and quickly because it is exciting, useful, and memorable!" —Kelly Cherry, author, Girl in a Library: On Women Writers and the Writing Life (nonfiction) and Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer (poems)
"With courage, empathy and clarity, Cumbie depicts her working class family and roots, the difficulties and triumph of her marriage, and her struggles to tell the truths of her life and to confront the trauma of rape. That the art of belly dancing comes to be one of the ways in which she heals helps makes this a singular and intriguing work. The result is a fascinating narrative whose emotional weight keeps gathering power and will move readers in unexpected and subtle ways." —David Mura, author, Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei
"The reader will shimmy with Patricia, tip and roll their shoulders, and release in time with her as she shares her love and heartbreak on the page. Her words move on the page much like a belly dancer undulating on the dance floor." —Elizabeth DiGrazia, author, House of Fire (memoir)