Dodging Machetes: How I Survived Forbidden Love, Bad Behavior, and the Peace Corps in Fiji

Will Lutwick
Peace Corps Writers (2012)
ISBN 9781935925118

Reviewed by Michel Violante for Reader Views (2/13)

“Dodging Machetes” by Will Lutwick tells Will’s story during the 1960s as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji who falls in love with Rani, a Fiji native girl of Indian background.  But this relationship was not allowed in Rani’s culture, so Rani discouraged Will the first time he tried to speak to her. Mesmerized by her beauty, Will ignores people’s advice to let it go and gets creative finding ways to establish a relationship with her until Rani falls for him as well, and they start dating in secret. They began meeting for lunch every day in the conference room at their job, located on the 6th floor. The relationship progresses as they face cultural adversities and gossip.

This fun and adventurous love story was well written and entertaining.  Lutwick presented his story in first person, but by incorporating great dialog and developing characters, he produced a memoir with the feel of a novel, instead of a narrative. The only negative thing for me was that it moved a little slow and it didn’t have enough dramatic moments to make it a faster pace read and to keep this reader’s interest at its peak.

I recommend “Dodging Machetes” by Will Lutwick to anyone who enjoys a light, fun romance adventure in a multicultural setting.  Although I wished it had a faster pace, I found it entertaining and also informative about Fiji, as well as the Indian culture, and for that I give it 4 stars.

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