4 out of 4 stars
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One college guy shared a fantasy, “Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve had this crazy idea of going on an annual vacation — each year to a different location — with the sole focus of the trip being to sample every weird bizarre edible I can find.”
His friend responded, “That’s genius! And what would be especially genius is if the trip included doing something outdoorsy as well, like hiking, biking, or kayaking. That way you could eat as much as you like, without the guilt.”
Three years later, Man Mission was born.
Along with their two other friends, these guys set out on an annual ritual expedition over a 15-year period, developing their hilarious adventure rule book, The Man Mission Charter, as they went, as well as sustaining injuries from wrecked egos to smashed ankle joints. In between adventures, they nurture families, switch jobs, lose parents and survive life-changing circumstances. When they squabble with their partners, they consult their imaginary Relationship Playbook, which they sadly discover doesn’t provide all the answers. Each in his own boat questions his situations and choices, and they unravel the concept of manliness in their pursuit of purpose. When the chips are down and they bare their souls to one another, Man Mission becomes a source of renewal and succor, an assemblage of the brotherhood for our four partners-in-suffering.
For someone who has often pondered how the male mind works, I was sufficiently enlightened by this book as well as a little envious of Eytan Uliel, seeing as he actually experienced at least some of what he illustrates. It is admirable he is able to write about four guys of similar ages and in a similar season of life, yet so different. I consider Man Mission as real as it gets to being a man in today’s world - the expectations laid by society and family subconsciously on these guys and their rather akin responses while trying hard to maintain a façade. I like how the stories of their adventures and regular lives seemed to run parallel to each other, separated only by intervals within chapters, enabling each rising action to unfold into the next and conveying the desired impression that the story is one and the same, in and out of adventures.
I also appreciate the book is written in the first person, which, in my opinion places the voice of the author behind every scene. Many of the scenes are outright comic and I totally enjoyed reading through. The book contains some borderline profanity and no erotic scenes.
As I judge it well written and exceptionally well-edited, I rate this book a four out of four stars, recommendable to anyone with a preference for adventure and to a lesser degree, biography and memoirs. I, however, do not recommend it for lovers of fantasy or romantics.
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