1 out of 4 stars
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The story of Cut Both Ways begins with a conflict between Apile and Tso. Both of them are at crossroads with a key decision regarding the organization that they worked so hard to build from scratch. Finding no way to make Tso see the sentiment of her side, seeing that he is as obstinate as ever to even try and view things from her perspective, Apile decides to quit the company. Sometime later, she starts working for another organization. A problem arises when Tso realises that a certain project will bring him face to face with Apile. With the conflict still fresh in both of their minds, he decides to find an alternate way to make things work. However, instead of simplifying the matter, it further complicates things as unlikely romance blossoms between them. Moreover, there are family secrets that make it even harder for them to end up together. Will love conquer all, or will it meet a sad end?
My rating for Cut Both Ways by Sello Moroe is 1 out of 4 stars. This story has all the clichés that make any romance enjoyable. In fact, it has some good twists, riveting turns and quite a few emotional scenes. The problem is that it is not written well. The writing style is too simple for its own good. The description of characters and surroundings doesn’t go beyond describing their faces and figures. Even if it does indulge the reader by describing the moods and emotions of certain characters, it doesn’t succeed so well. This flaw is further augmented by the fact that there are no likeable characters here. They are mediocre at best, and even if we do find someone we can care about, they aren’t treated so well by the writer.
What further irked me about this story was its focus on toxic characters and how it tries to make us care for them. For the most part, they seem well-meaning, normal people. You don't particularly like them, but there is no reason to hate them either. This is until phrases like this come along.
“Upon acquiring Naka…”, “…which lady will live without man’s attention…”.
On one side, the author has presented the female characters in this story as strong and independent, but on the other, he’s got the male characters talking like this. Further, there are a couple of other male characters that seem inherently bad. They display controlling and narcissistic behaviour and treat women like garbage, and yet, the narrator seems to be in awe of them. What’s worse is that these characters don’t even contribute to the storyline. What’s the purpose of introducing them at all?
Normally, even if I don’t like a novel so much, I do consider the audience that would find it better. Opinions differ, and something I didn’t enjoy might be someone else’s cup of tea. Without the toxic masculinity part, I would have recommended this book to amateur and young readers. People who love romance novels might have enjoyed it. However, I believe that the author needs to give some serious thought to what he wants to put out into the world. A part of me considers the possibility that I might have interpreted things wrong. Perhaps, there was something else the storyteller was hinting at. If that’s the case, then a rewrite is necessary.
If I had to write down something in favour of the book, it would be this. Apart from a couple of grammatical mistakes, the book is well-edited. The story has some potential and would make a great read if the writing style is improved, along with the depiction of the characters.
Cut Both Ways
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