4 out of 4 stars
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Don't be fooled by the title of Eytan Uliel's soaring tale into the various nuances of manhood and friendship, Man Mission. Despite its contemplative look into masculinity and just what that entails, this heartfelt glimpse into the lives of four friends journeying through the push and pull of life, as young men, partners, husbands, and fathers, is the perfect read for anyone of any gender who has in their lifetimes experienced even the slightest hint of wanderlust.
The premise of the man mission is simple — steeping from their need to "do something wild and crazy" four tight-knit friends vow to attempt annual athletic adventures to the most exotic locales they can find. We get to tag along as they cycle, row, climb and stumble their way across the globe, from a treacherous hike deep in the heart of rural New Zealand, sidestepping tourists on the difficult trek to Machu Picchu and bonding with strangers in deserted hotels in Taiwan. Each mission comes with its own, often hilarious, challenges including plenty of injuries, some food poisoning and lots of rowdy drunkenness.
Man Mission is a rollercoaster of sorts. You'll go from laughing out loud at some of the unique experiences the group face on their missions to deep reflection as they simultaneously attempt to deal with the messy realities of their normal lives. Growing children, messy relationships and forbidden temptations all play out in the background of their crazy adventures.
I loved every second of this quirky, heartfelt story and quickly found myself trying to find the equivalent of each character in my own group of friends - I have no doubt that you will too. It is a solid four out of four read that is a rip-roaring tale of life, friendship and the silent struggles that men face as they morph from young adults to husbands and fathers.
Perfect for men and women alike, Man Mission reads like a part travel blog, part dramatic biography. As a global traveler, Eytan Uliel is able to detail the various unique man missions with such color and clarity that you will feel like you have personally tagged along on each journey. "In a world where the traditional rules of ‘being a man’ are no longer clear," I am confident that you will also leave with a greater appreciation for the men in your life and the trials and tribulations that they face.
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