4 out of 4 stars
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Man Mission Four Men, Fifteen Years, One Epic Journey by Eytan Uliel is part an adventure travel story and part an account of fifteen years in four men’s lives. Every year from the time they are college students until mid-way in their corporate careers as professional men, the four friends take a man only adventure vacation to a far away place. They call these vacations “man mission” and even have a written set of ten rules for Man Mission, called “The Man Mission Charter”. The first rule is “men only”. Rule number three is “go beyond your limits”.
When I selected this book for review I did so because I thought it was nonfiction. I prefer reading nonfiction, rather than fiction, because I like to read a book, I can learn something from, not just to read for entertainment. Therefore, I was disappointed when it stated on the copyright page that the book was a work of fiction. Not realizing this fact may have been my fault, but I do not remember this information being in Online Book Club’s description of this book.
However, once I begin reading a book, I always finish it, so I continued reading Man Mission Four Men, Fifteen Years, One Epic Journey by Eytan Uliel. I was not disappointed. This book reads like nonfiction. I double checked the copyright page, unable to believe that the story wasn’t true. The back cover of the book states that the author is a “global traveler” and that at one time he worked as a corporate lawyer and in investment banking. The men in this story are also in corporate law and banking. So, I still think much of this book, although fictionalized, is based on the author’s true experiences.
The book has obviously been meticulously edited. I found no typos. It has also been professionally put together with a front and back cover. From the PDF copy that I read; the covers look like a scan of a hard copy book. There is a copyright page and a table of contents page. Each chapter follows the same format with a map drawing of where the four men went for that year’s man mission. Each chapter also has a page with relevant quotations, many from the Bible. The entire story is told in first person, creating empathy with the main character and adding to the impression that this is a true story. Each chapter alternates between accounts of the narrator’s and his friends’ regular lives and that year’s man mission vacation. Each chapter ends with a summary of what he has learned from that year’s man mission. As the story progresses, the four friends, Sam, Daniel, Alec, and the unnamed narrator, graduate from college, get jobs, rise on the corporate ladder, marry and raise families, and experience good times and bad times. Their annual man mission is their one constant, a chance to get away together for an adventure, and to renew their friendship with time away from their increasingly busy regular lives. As the years pass only the annual man mission never changes except for the increasingly more adventurous places and activities they plan each year.
I did not want this book to end, but it ends after fifteen years and fifteen man missions in the four friends’ lives. It is not stated in the last chapter, but the impression given is that man mission and the men’s friendship will go on.
I rate this book 4 stars out of 4 stars. The reason I rated the book 4 stars is because it was fast, easy, interesting reading, and also because it read like nonfiction even though it was not. What I liked most about it was the likeable narrator, the upbeat ending, and the interesting accounts of faraway places he and his friends visited. What I disliked the most about this book is that, as in real life, bad things sometimes happened to him and his friends. Some were things that could not be fixed.
I think this book would especially appeal to men readers who enjoy travel books. It should have a much wider appeal than that, though, to anyone who just likes a good story and something a little different to read.
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