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

Will Lutwick
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
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Book Description

WINNER OF THE 2012 USA BEST BOOK AWARD FOR MULTICULTURAL NON-FICTION


FINALIST IN THE 2013 ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARDS AND THE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS

Strap yourself in for a wild ride!



"Dodging Machetes" is sometimes dramatic and thrilling, other times flat-out funny. And it's always compelling!


Will Lutwick, a quirky misfit, gets an MBA at 22, but soon realizes he and the American corporate world are a horrid mismatch. He joins the Peace Corps and is sent to the Fiji Islands, the quintessential tropical paradise. Will finds himself attracted to prohibited pulchritude when Rani Gupta, a beautiful, rebellious 20-year-old from a traditional Hindu family, begins working in his office. Dating is taboo in Fiji's large Indian community, and an interracial couple would be unprecedented. But Rani and Will soon discover their mutual attraction impossible to resist. Their liaison is clandestine, but word gets out, and a cultural firestorm engulfs Rani's community. The two lovers are under constant threat of attack, and violence ensues. Will must confront his personal demons about courage and commitment, while Rani is treated like a pariah by her people. Will the besieged lovers stay together, or will a hostile world tear them apart?


In between the dramatic scenes, this seriocomic memoir is savvy and often hilarious. Lutwick deliciously skewers his own behavior and satirizes the people, practices, and protocols he encounters in Fiji and in backstory about his youth.


Will Lutwick has woven his provocative insight with the dramatic events of a singular, but timeless, forbidden-love story. The result is "Dodging Machetes"--a story-driven page-turner from an exceptional writer.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"In his beautifully written memoir...he relays these memories with neither bitterness nor self-serving pity--just a good dose of humor and intelligence...He shares thoughtful insight into Fiji's exotic history and society...Off-the-charts hysterical. An unabashed, candid memoir that continually entertains and educates."
--KIRKUS REVIEWS

"An eye-opening story about love, loss, and discrimination...Not only is this an exciting memoir, but it's a great modern day Romeo and Juliet tale. You can tell that this book was a passionate labor of love. Each page is as addicting as the last, with great emotional elements driving the story. This is a great book for those looking for a well-rounded love story with a few laughs and a lot of heart." Five Stars.
--SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW

"Lutwick's memoir is a fun romp through the tropics, featuring forbidden love and outrageous cross-cultural miscommunications. Part South Pacific and part adventure comedy, Lutwick's book is all heart. I cheered for him every step of the way."
--JULIA SCHEERES, Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus Land and A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown

"...entertaining and thought provoking...This is a fine example of what a memoir can be...episodic, fast paced chapters. Once I started, I could not stop and yet, found myself thinking about his story and its themes long after the highlighted passages began to fade. If you enjoy a roller-coaster memoir, you'll love Dodging Machetes. It will probably win awards. Five stars."
--PEACE CORPS WORLDWIDE by LAWRENCE F. LIHOSIT, author of the bible on Peace Corps memoirs, Peace Corps Experience: Write and Publish Your Memoir

From the Author

Dodging Machetes was edited by Jordan Rosenfeld, author of Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time.

Product Details

  • File Size: 640 KB
  • Print Length: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Peace Corps Writers (January 4, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008KWN034
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #614,738 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cultural experience with this easy read. June 3, 2012
Format:Paperback
As I was reading I would come to parts that I really enjoyed and they were so well written, But as I would go along I would come to another and another that either tickled me or enlightened me about some aspect of Lutwick's remarkable experience in Fiji. Reading his memoir showed me the true anxiety of his forbidden love situation, but yet with a tone of hope. Lutwick writes with a wonderful,subtle sense of tongue n cheek. "Dodging Machetes" is both informative and entertaining. The author has a perceptive viewpoint about the politics, ethnic mores and traditions of a country populated by a colorful array of people. Similarly the book is educational and amusing regarding his brief account of the history of Fiji.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning Diversity the Hard Way. August 4, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In March 1961, President Kennedy founded the Peace Corps and in the last 51 years more than 200,000 Volunteers have served in more than 139 countries. Their experiences have been as varied as their personalities and most fully integrated into their local villages and towns. Many dated host country nationals and for thousands, like myself, this integration culminated in marriage to one. "Dodging Machetes:How I Survived Forbidden Love, Bad Behavior, and the Peace Corps in Fiji" written by former Fiji volunteer Will Lutwick highlights his sometimes poignant, occasionally awkward, often humorous and frequently dangerous and secretive roller coaster ride of courting then marrying his Rani. It focuses on the cultural taboos set in motion when a Jewish American Volunteer woos a Indian Hindu from Fiji whose family and culture deplore marrying outside their culture and take extreme steps to place roadblocks on this courtship. Only the love and steely determination of Will and especially Rani overcome these threats culminating in marriage. Unfortunately, to insure their safety, they depart the island soon after exchanging vows.

Any Returned Peace Corps volunteer or anyone who has lived oversees can relate to this story. Anyone who has dated outside their culture or comfort zones can find much of themselves in Will and Rani. I found myself cheering them on through the book hoping they find true happiness. I highly recommend this as a great read
and feel good story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bula June 1, 2012
By Janny
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Terror, love, and high silliness in Paradise: this story deserves a movie - so says this teacher of 30 years who taught upper level English. I read it in one day - totally entertaining.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great romp of a book! May 31, 2012
Format:Paperback
This book made me nostalgic for the 60s, a time before I was even born. I highly recommend it. Who'll play the leading man in the movie? That's the big question.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating June 13, 2012
By Albert
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read it in one day. A life most of us only dream about. Will lived it, wrote about it. THANKS!!
Filled with suspense,humor, honesty and passionate young forbidden love. Mr Lutwick shared such personal feelings with us that I felt like I knew him and was one of his friends. I can't wait to read his next book. Hurry please!-Claudia
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT STORY TELLING June 15, 2012
Format:Paperback
Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras, 1975-1977)

Mr. Lutwick has succeeded in creating an entertaining and thought provoking Peace Corps memoir. This is a fine example of what a memoir can be for those willing to invest in writing rather than type-writing. Although ostensibly a love story, the author explores military conscription, discrimination and guilt. Written with episodic, fast paced chapters it is intriguing. Once I started, I could not stop and yet, found myself thinking about his story and its themes long after the highlighted passages began to fade.

Twenty-two year old Lutwick arrived in Fiji in November, 1968, part of the third group of volunteers. The program had begun only eleven months before, the same month that the tone of the Vietnam War changed and the anti-war movement became more vocal. For younger readers, North Vietnam began a major offensive (the Tet Offensive) in the south, attacking more than 100 towns, cities and American military bases. Although the attacks were smothered, their early successes surprised and angered many. It also stimulated an intense national introspection about the war.

Lutwick (and all your American men between the ages of 18 ½ and 25) was eligible for military conscription (the draft). Military service could be deferred for those in college or serving in the Peace Corps. This policy resulted in social tension since both deferments were not accessible to the majority. Local draft boards around the nation began to reconsider the Peace Corps deferment. In 1967, volunteers in Honduras complained that of the 90 males serving, two had received a Final Induction Notice and two others a Preliminary Induction Notice within one month. All four expected to be recalled home and immediately pressed into military service.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deja Vu all over again May 12, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Last year I gave my copy to a former student who went into the Peace Corps in Africa. She wrote that all of her friends have read it there. I, myself, served in Fiji the same time as the author and recognized the characters despite the pseudonyms. I will contiue to use it as a going away gift to people I see going into P.C. service
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique slice of time and place November 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Will Lutwick does a great job of sharing his fumbling with relationships in the late sixties. His stories of growing up in Richmond hit home; particularly the parts about how our generation was raised with "Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child" as a rationale for what would later be called abuse. His first sexual encounter was handled with taste and hilarious self-deprecation. Interweaving the story of his forbidden love in the Peace Corps with just the right amount of autobiographical flashback made for a great read. The short sentences in his first chapter were rough going, but after that, I had no problem with his style and voice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read
Peace Corps memories. Fun to read.
Published 3 days ago by BJC
3.0 out of 5 stars unruly
The story seems to be written by an undisciplined and haphazard type of guy, so it comes across as such. An ok read.
Published 6 months ago by gruschi
2.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed... until the Epilogue.
I thought the book was well written, funny, and very readable. I admired what I thought was a struggle against wrongful cultural bias. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Bruce Jolly
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
Very entertaining, though a little glib at times about non-American customs. As a former Peace Corps Volunteer myself, I could empathize.
Published 21 months ago by Catherine Onyemelukwe
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book
Even if you have no interest in the Peace Corps and no interest in Fiji, this book is wonderful. Lutwick's writing transports you to another time and place with humor, depth and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Voracious Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Peace Corps Memoir
Will's memoir is insightful, funny and romantic. It is a well written memoir of his Peace Corps experience. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Donna L. Ianni
5.0 out of 5 stars Great subway read
Really enjoyed reading this entertaining and informative book on the New York subway on my mobile device. Was transported to Fiji and immersed in this quirky love story. Read more
Published on September 24, 2012 by israelh
5.0 out of 5 stars A totally FuN read!
I don't usually finish books I start. BUT, I just finished reading Dodging Machetes! The book takes you on an unexpected adventure with various twists and turns, ups and downs. Read more
Published on September 5, 2012 by Mel
5.0 out of 5 stars Will, you devil, you!
I must admit that I still have visions of this tale swirling around in my brain. Last week, I finished this book, the second half in one sitting--ignoring my cravings for lunch and... Read more
Published on August 29, 2012 by Brian A. Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Annie Hall: A Jewish Boy Meets a Magnetic Indian Girl
The easiest way describe Dodging Machetes is to talk about it in terms of movies: I would compare the book to romantic comedies written by men--movies like Woody Allen's Annie... Read more
Published on July 20, 2012 by Pinto
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More About the Author

Will Lutwick has degrees from Duke University and the University of Michigan. After completion of his Peace Corps service, he returned to the United States where he has had a long and successful career in marketing, financial administration, and business systems design. Will had an essay published in the San Francisco Chronicle and a short story in San Francisco Focus magazine. He lives in San Francisco with his wife.

Will worked for three-and-a-half years on "Dodging Machetes" before its release. "As my first published book, I wanted it to be perfect, a book I would always be proud of. And both readers and critics agree: "Dodging Machetes" is an exciting, compelling read. I would rather write one great book, than several rush-jobs. Think of how much better the overall reader experience would be if all the authors wrote far fewer books of much better quality. With approximately a million books published every year in just the U.S., it's not like anyone is going to run out of books to read."

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Keeping your place
Tracy, as the author of the book this forum is about, "Dodging Machetes: How I Survived Forbidden Love, Bad Behavior, and the Peace Corps in Fiji," I welcome you as the first person to comment here. But as you can see, traffic is very light, so I have a suspicious feeling that you might... Read More
Jul 17, 2012 by WLut |  See all 2 posts
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