4 out of 4 stars
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What separates a boy from being a man? Four friends travel to different countries to try out new things and to experience new cultures, but most importantly, to have an extreme adventure to show themselves worthy to be real men. But is it only brute strength or the willingness to test one’s limit that defines being a man? Away from their adrenaline-filled excursions, the responsibilities of having a family, a high-paying job, and social obligations seem more difficult to tread than hiking with a twisted knee.
Man Mission is an adventure novel written by Eytan Uliel. Sam, the pyrotechnician, Daniel, the organizer, Alec, the bachelor, and our main protagonist, who keeps earning the Pink Bracelet for whining, have dubbed their expeditions as the Man Mission. Consisting of fifteen chapters, the author narrates the fifteen trips, spanning fifteen years, which includes hiking in New Zealand, kayaking in Fiji, biking in South Korea, and many others. Within their travels, they have created a Man Mission Charter which includes going beyond one’s limits, no luxuries allowed, and, of course, men only. But aside from their yearly outing, they must also deal with the Relationship Playbook wherein they transition from being bachelors to having a family of their own.
What gave the book so much personality and charm were the four main characters. They were so varied in their traits and yet they complemented each other wonderfully. Even as book characters, their friendship was felt through the pages that they made me laugh aloud at times and even emotional. The way the book was narrated, which was written in the first-person perspective, was very casual and comfortable as if the main character was talking to another friend. I was also impressed by how much adventure the author could think of because each year was diverse and had its own complications, although they were probably inspired by his own excursions. What I also liked, and found amusing, was that the end of every chapter had a summary of their vital statistics which included the distance they traveled, the time they have taken, and the injuries they have sustained.
I absolutely loved this book and I didn’t have anything that I didn’t like about it. I think that it is a complete book wherein it drew my attention from the start and it played with emotions through superb writing. I also didn’t find any errors in it and it seemed like it was professionally edited. The chapters were written in a way wherein the highlight was the Man Mission trip of the year, but now and again, it gave a flashback to tell the story of their personal lives at home. Some might find this confusing or annoying but I didn’t have any problem with it all because I thought it was well done.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It’s a wonderful story about adventure, reflection, friendship, and the struggle of what is expected of being a man in a man’s world. The book has some curse words in it so it is not for young adults, but I would recommend this to all adult readers whether they like adventure stories or not, and men and women alike.
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