4 out of 4 stars
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Man Mission chronicles the remarkable journeys of four successful guys who adventure off the well-trodden path, both physically and figuratively, to reconnect with their masculinity. Every year, for one extraordinary week, they instantly become boys again, swearing heartily, screaming hysterically, raging fiercely and laughing uproariously at each other on their breathtaking voyages.
Eytan Uliel beautifully elaborates how poorly these men navigate the emotional rapids in their private lives when traditional roles constantly leave them unfulfilled. Despite their obvious intelligence and education, they don't know how to communicate with the women they love. The attendant consequences of this fundamental lack generate profound insight into what constitutes an authentic relationship from a modern man’s point of view. The author’s consciousness that a man must intentionally choose his unique place in the world makes this book a must-read.
The four robust characters draw you in immediately. The men are all married with families and maintain successful careers. The narrator is intellectual, physically inactive and athletically inept yet enthusiastically welcomes every proposal for another challenging adventure while silently quailing in his loafers. This principal character epitomises every twenty-first century man’s legitimate desire to joyfully live his soul song. Sam is the blond, blue-eyed, rugged Viking lookalike who represents the reliable middle-of-the-road guy. Calm, practical, principled Daniel is the Organizer and harshest critic of his best friends' dearth of emotional intelligence until he too is ensnared in that quagmire. Alec is the always well-dressed, jobless, marijuana-smoker famed for his one-night stands. He's the joker in the pack. Further details would create a spoiler alert.
I loved everything about Man Mission. The intimate bond between the men captures you immediately as they wholeheartedly embrace every escapade for its intense, unforgettable experience. There's nothing superfluous here. The prose flows and even the cursing works. The author powerfully conveys the culture and scenic beauty of each region and country visited with the effective addition of a few striking, local characters. This remarkable quotation emphasises the book’s picturesque quality. “Two filthy, barefoot boys pecked around in the dirt like a pair of human chickens.”
The narrator’s agony at his inability to express his need for emotional support provides insight into a man’s psyche hitherto unconsidered. The reader eventually understands there’s no such thing as an “ordinary guy”. To discover who he really is, each man must follow his internal compass through the wilderness of his confusion, accept his flawed nature and decide to live life on his terms. An agonising journey that leaves none unscathed. That is the real man mission.
I discovered nothing to dislike.
This captivating book highlights men's often unspoken and unpublicised needs. It's very well-edited in spite of the four minor errors identified. Written from a man's perspective, adults of both sexes including adventurers, the young-at-heart, armchair travellers and teenagers would be inspired by every exceptionally well-described journey that bring the men to vibrant life. The numerous instances of four-letter words inhibit me from heartily recommending it for young adults. Additionally, there's some mild Japanese erotica. This superb book gets a 4 out of 4 stars
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