4 out of 4 stars
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Man Mission by Eytan Uliel tells the story of four young men’s adventures, both throughout the world and within their own families and careers. The book starts out while the unnamed narrator is in law school, where he forms an unexpected friendship with Sam. Sam seemed at first to be the polar opposite of him, but they soon struck up a conversation and explored the school’s Food Fair together. They then shared with each other the seemingly outlandish idea of going on an annual vacation to different exotic locations.
Three years after first meeting, that idea came to fruition, and would continue for another 15 years. The men developed the “Man Mission Charter,” a set of ten rules to live by while on their adventures. Along the way, lifelong friends of the narrator, Alec and Daniel, joined Sam and him on their trips. Though each of the men faced uncertainty and challenge in their careers, marriages, and fatherhood, those annual trips they took provided them with very much needed stability and a break from their everyday lives.
When first starting this book, I found myself disliking some of the main characters. The men seemed immature and, at times, ungrateful for the opportunities they had. However, this was soon made clear to not be a downside of the story. Instead, it was used in a way to further emphasize how the men would change as they grew older. I really enjoyed the author’s pacing, with each chapter split into sections describing the men’s adventures around the world versus their time at home and within their careers.
Man Mission was very well edited, with no noticeable grammar or spelling errors. The flow and structure of the story was also very well done, with no parts being too slow-paced or rushed. Younger and older adults alike would enjoy this novel, as it is all about the journey of growing older and how much people can evolve throughout their lives. The only group I would not recommend this book for is younger audiences, due to its mature language and themes.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It was very enjoyable to read. The dialogue and inner monologue of the narrator were realistic and engaging. The story was a good combination of travel adventures mixed with the struggles and joys of domestic life. Uliel uses this book to expertly explore themes of fatherhood, love, and process of growing up.
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