4 out of 4 stars
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Eytan Uliel is a master storyteller. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Man Mission.
The storyline was pleasantly surprising. The name may suggest that the book is solely for men, however, that is definitely not the case.
The story follows the main character, Charlie, for a total of 15 years. The adventures of him and his 3 best friends are chronicled from their late twenties, through to their forties. Every year the guys get together to reassure themselves of their manliness by going on various adventures. Every year the guys go to a different location, each place topping the last. They engage in multiple physical activities such as kayaking and hiking, even though they aren't the best sportsmen in the world.
The story also follows their work lives from their late twenties through to their forties. It starts with the characters just entering the workforce and having big career goals. The story gradually progresses with them climbing up their respective corporate ladders to eventually becoming disillusioned with their choices. With regards to their personal lives, the guys went from being bachelors to married with children and eventually facing stormy waters.
Uliel encapsulates what it is like being an adult male. Each with their own path but facing the same challenges in work, love and life as a whole. The book can be described as philosophical fiction as the author offers up great insights under the guise of the main character's thoughts. The book could be compared to a male's version of Eat, Pray, Love. The book has many great quotes, my favourite of which is “if you choose a different life, it will seem strange at first, but over time almost anything can become normal”. The quotes are simple but very profound on that they force you to reflect upon your challenges from a different perspective.
The main character displays raw emotion multiple times in the story. He grapples with his inner demons and what it means to truly be a man. The author tries to address the gender role assigned to men and how much some can compromise or sacrifice in order to fulfill that role.
I am exceedingly impressed with the format of the book. Each chapter tells the tale of a new year with a new adventure. The paragraphs of the chapter alternate between the present man mission adventure and the events which had unfolded during that past year.
Taking all of the above into account, I would give the book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone. I just couldn't wait for a free moment, so that I could read this book. I even snuck in a few minutes at work. This is definitely a good read and worthy of it's rating.
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