4 out of 4 stars
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Man Mission by Eytan Uliel is a grand, epic adventure of four men and the various events they face in their lives. The story zeroes in on the life of the author and his group of three best friends throughout. The book explores and reflects on the definition of a man, one that has been framed by the society around the growing boy into a man, through a series of gripping, thrilling, adrenaline powered adventures and the progressive events in his life. What will the meaning of being a man, emerge out to the author, as well as to us?
What a elegant way to start off the book and all the chapters, with maps and trajectories.
The author,adventurous,foodie, gets a clerical desk job after finishing his law school at a Sidney based law firm. Days go on, demanding strenuous hours of work everyday. His like minded friend, Sam calls him one day to propose about a hiking trip in New Zealand which furnishes a blissful opportunity to get out of his demanding clerical commitments and breathe in fresh air into his life. They go to New Zealand hiking along Harper's Pass, enjoy beautiful natural display of night sky, the author gets his knee twisted and still continue on in their journeys. He rides back home in a truck of drug dealers they met on their journey. This is the beginning of several thrilling adventures about to be embarked upon and more injuries and accidents the author is about to face. What's engaging is the author's humorous ways of portraying his injuries in the Vital Stats section at a chapter's end and getting laughably ridiculed by his friends everytime, on getting injured.
As the story progresses, thrills and soulful ecstasies elevate as they go cycling through the highways in Japan,kayaking downstream on the Australian Murray River, white water sledding along the Otago Rail Trail in New Zealand, ocean kayaking around the beautiful Fijian islands, safari riding in Africa meeting face to face with a giant elephant, the king of the jungle and a female leopard and many more. Two of their childhood friends Daniel and Alec join them on their adventures shortly after two duo adventures ending in Japan. They fall in love, get married along the way, have kids, rise up on their career ladders and are excited about the lives they presently live. They all join together with their wives for gatherings along the way. All of these are seamlessly interwoven in this book's flow.
Soon, everything changes. Stress and lifelessness increase at work, quality family time decreases and the intimacy begins to fade, all owing to struggles of life. The features of a man, as long held by and framed upon the author by society, are questioned, pondered over thoroughly, step by step. However this never stops the four men from going on their established tradition of an annual adventure, rather fuels it. The mundanities take a merciless toll on both the author and his wife and things begin to decay to a point of frustration where the author gives up and starts an affair with his female co-worker, to end the ravaging suffering faced by him in his marriage. All of this is found out by his wife Rachel and eventually they end up in divorce.A darkness descends on his life, sadly, which lingers until the end of the story.
The author is a man of great character and struggles on fulfilling all responsibilities and duties a man is supposed to perform. He is an optimist, faithful to his wife, never gives up and follows a very clean life. He after hitting the most dreadful low of his life, begins searching for meaning and purpose in his life. A person named Peter brings beams of glowing hope to the reader who has already related his tortured psyche with the book. The ups and downs of his friends are also portrayed. Finally after a lot of inner suffering, he finds salvation. Although the sadness of the divorce and the memories with his wife ebb and flow until the end, he finds happiness in himself, being in the moment and declares a happy ending.
The book is a complete exploration of the various ups and downs,adversities a man faces in his life. The full spectrum of a man's emotions is lucidly portrayed, rendering the book incredibly relatable. The storyline is replete with extreme hilariousness. An example of this hilariousness: the author says that he became a father of twins within a duration of time less than it takes to boil an egg. The remarkable friendship among the four men adds a colourful layer of soothing serenity to the storyscape. Romance is also touchingly written. The author is expert in seamlessly integrating rich vocabulary into the flow of the lucid storyline, his eloquence unparalleled. At first, the teleportation among his life events was cutting off my flow but the repeating teleportation accustomed me to a blissful acceptance of the transitions. The cover artwork is delicious and makes the book very collectible. His overflowing creativity dazzled the mind everytime. The mark of a great book is its unputdownability. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars as it effortlessly satisfies this criteria and intensely satisifies. The author is very skilled in painting vivid landscapes with ease in the mind. There are lots of instances of profanity scattered in the storyline but they are not at all to be taken seriously. They are humor adding elements smoothly embossed in the fun-filled story and they come from guys, most of whom are of admirable character traits. Sexual instances and references are present and this book is strictly for an audience comprising Young Adults and above. This book has forever created its presence in my heart and I achingly miss the journey I ended with the end of the book. Men will undeniably relate to it and women can also read to understand the men,their husbands,fathers,sons more, in their lives. Adventure lovers will love the book profoundly.
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