4 out of 4 stars
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Would I ever be brave enough to abandon everything for a couple of days and wander in places well off the beaten track? This is a mind-blowing question for many adults and late juveniles, that usually stays unanswered. Nevertheless, the four men starring in Eytan’s Uliel’s book, Man Mission, explore delightful hideaways in every corner of this planet, faithful to their mission for fifteen years starting from a superficial dream in college. Moreover, they discover themselves and test their limits through the vivid snapshots of the ever-changing society. A challenging journey for the readers, as well, through the vast oceans and male psychology.
The story begins years ago when the mysterious protagonist, whose name stays unknown till the very end of the novel though the similarity with the author himself is striking, and his friends are still in university. There the idea of Man Mission is born, but remains a coveted dream. It subscribes to simple principles; they get to travel in bewitching places on earth depending on their own abilities. Very soon, when the protagonist and his friends have plum jobs and have wandered off in the adult world, did they realize that they are in desperate need of an escape from their mundane lives. Thus, the Man Mission becomes something more than a far-fetched dream. The novel follows them through the next fifteen years in different places around the globe doing what they consider manly activities and trying to find their place in society. Nevertheless, their over masculinity sometimes clouds their judgment thus leading them in dare devil situations when they have to face demanding conjunctures; their annual man mission becomes their safe heaven. A utopia where they can unwind and be just four careless guys.
All characters are drawn with a warts-and-all realism that makes them entirely credible. Throughout the whole story they search the meaning of being a “man”. They try to unravel this mystery in an ever-changing society, in which the purpose and values of each sex are unclear. Thus, sometimes they are being led in dead ends by different role-models that do not belong in their times or by various cultural perspectives. Furthermore, they come face to face with realizations that sweep them over. In particular, the protagonist through a roller coaster of emotions and events has to understand the hard way that mistakes may and will happen but it is of vital importance not to dwell on them. Thus, when he gets divorced and unemployed, he comes apart at the seams. His façade of the perfect husband and man falls into pieces. But like a phoenix, through his journeys he is reborn a totally different man. Whilst now he is motivated and determined to live his life abide by his own rules and expectations, completely against his previous, miserable and lost self. Thus, in a unique way he finds happiness and fulfills his own mission - to find his purpose in life.
What has launched this book as a huge success is not just the exceptional well edited format, but also the fact that it offers a beautiful insight in men’s psychology, which is pictured through many relatable situations for both sexes. Thus, a man’s emotions, thoughts and actions, being on the lookout for the purpose of his existence, become comprehensible to everyone (women and men). Furthermore, society’s impact in the psychology of an individual is portrayed perfectly, capturing all the struggles and overthinking that leads to an infinite, vicious circle of rumination and depression. And last but not least, the formers masterfully combined with the vivid, spellbinding descriptions and engrossing information of the exotic, breathtaking destinations renders it in a flawless, four out four stars novel.
All in all, it is not just a book but also an invitation to all grown-ups to begin the epic journey which follows the footsteps of the four main characters in finding the purpose of their lives and the cause of their euphoria. Furthermore, it is an innovative opportunity to see the world from a man’s point of view which could not be more relatable to many readers. So, hurry up and hop aboard on Man Mission’s voyage across the majestic landscapes and go on an expedition in the never-ending mysteries of men’s psychology.
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