2 out of 4 stars
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Set in the country of South Africa, Cut Both Ways by Sello Moroe presents a romantic account that chronicles the lives of two self-driven individuals while sharing some of South Africa’s culture and expressions.
Apile is a young lady full of determination and a bit of pride. When we first meet her, she is working for Higher Calling Crusaders (HCC) alongside Tso, the authoritative founder of the organization, in a bid to counter the moral decay that is destroying future leaders among university students. When Rebecca, a fellow leader at HCC becomes pregnant outside of marriage, it becomes apparent both she and Steve, her partner, have to be expelled from the organization for a year since they have broken some of the establishment’s cardinal rules. This does not sit well with Apile and she decides to quit. The storyline picks from here taking different forms.
A wonderful feature of the book is the way the narrative is broken at certain points in the plot to include other accounts that are different from the main story. As Tso struggles to find a way to express his growing love for Apile, we get to learn of another young woman called Naka who seems to have caught the eye of a certain young man. Their journey of love is not without its struggles as feelings of jealousy sometimes plague the relationship. Other divergent accounts are also interwoven in the book besides that of Naka.
Cut Both Ways is also a quick read. The twists and turns it incorporates make it seem longer than it actually is. In the beginning, I thought the book would only follow Tso and Apile’s story, but my interest grew after finding other short stories. These came with additional strands of suspense especially found in Naka’s story. The author keeps the plots brief, mostly touching on what really builds the storyline.
One thing I did not like was the lack of originality in Tso’s and Apile’s romance story. The idea of Tso impersonating another person and dragging a whole board of professionals along to support his plan seems a bit unrealistic to me. Further, other accounts especially those written by Tso contain many aspects of emotional abuse especially in the case of Loloki, another character in one of the sub-plots. The characters’ abusive natures are not presented in a way as to portray the behavior as inappropriate and destructive.
Cut Both Ways is a romance book that touches on social issues and readers interested in this genre should consider reading it. Everything put into account, I rate it 2 out of 4 stars. The book contains some interesting aspects but this is mostly marred by the inauthenticity of the narrative.
Cut Both Ways
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