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Dodging Machetes: How I Survived Forbidden Love, Bad Behavior, and the Peace Corps in Fiji Paperback – May 21, 2012


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Dodging Machetes: How I Survived Forbidden Love, Bad Behavior, and the Peace Corps in Fiji + Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu + The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Peace Corps Writers (May 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935925113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935925118
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. Her book reviews are regularly featured on The California Report, a news-magazine produced by NPR-affiliate KQED radio.

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."

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
It is a well written memoir of his Peace Corps experience.
Donna L. Ianni
Only the love and steely determination of Will and especially Rani overcome these threats culminating in marriage.
Ron L. Block
Lutwick's writing transports you to another time and place with humor, depth and insight.
Voracious Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Billy PS on 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Janny on June 1, 2012
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 By SF Journo on 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 By Ron L. Block on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Albert on June 13, 2012
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 By Lawrence F. Lihosit on 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 ˝ 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 By Nino Deprophetis on 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 By Charles Crane on 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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