4 out of 4 stars
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Man-Mission by Eytan Uliel sounds like a well-kept travel journal. Throughout the book, you get to read the minute first-hand version of visiting the place. The descriptions are so good that you are almost transported to the places the author and his friends are traveling.
I rate it 4 out of 4 stars as it touches your heart, has been planned and structured well and has been well-edited. You are going to love it.
Eytan has successfully captured the quirks of different cultures and people of different countries. Many of them felt like revelations. It was surprising how Japanese people can be so shy and formal on one hand, and how they embrace nudity and sex so easily on the other hand.
The book also explores the psychology of travelers. During the kayaking trip at Murray River in Australia, the friends wrestled with each other – forgetting that they were already adults. They were able to capture the innocence of their childhoods for a few moments. The fall and rise of Alec, the maverick of the group, gives hope to us – who submit to the mundane grinding of daily life to gain stability in our lives.
The He-man or the Superman of the story is, of course, Peter, the German who manned the catamaran in Thailand. He has a short role in the book but since he is living a life that many of us only dream of – he becomes immortal in our memories. A man of few possessions, few commitments, many adventures, and no guilt, Peter became an inspiration for the author and his friends.
Besides the traveling part, the book also explores the relationships between couples and the bonding of bro-groups. Once the man-missions took off, we can see how self-created rules and rituals sprung off organically. The author rightly says that these traditions and customs bred comfort and familiarity – irrespective of how silly they were.
The book is also a must-read for women who want to understand their men and their boyish quirks. It explores the psychology of the author, what he expected from his wife, and how frustration built up in him even though he really loved his wife and was always loyal to her.
The idea of manliness may seem absurd to us but the matter seems close to the heart of the men in the story. Somehow, failing is seen as ‘less of manliness’ and being able to produce more children is seen as ‘more of manliness’.
The book is deep and yet, funny. The author can paint any scene or emotion with words and thus, this book is an immersive experience that gets etched in your heart for a long time to come.
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