4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Aspiring writers are often told, “Don’t start at the beginning. Start in the middle.” Boy, oh boy did Eytan Uliel ever take those words to heart! He doesn’t just politely invite you into the midst of the action. He drop-kicks you off the high dive to plunge into the icy depths of adrenaline, unsure if you’ll make it back to safety or not.
Man Mission opens with the author huddled in the back of a speeding truck, surrounded by loaded guns and kilos of illegal drugs. The author is sure he’s going to die and, in that moment forgetting that you’re reading words obviously penned well after the fact, you share his fear.
There’s adrenaline and humor from the very beginning. At first, I thought the book was going to be nothing more than an enjoyable, comedic romp. And it is. But it is also much more. Man Mission follows the lives, loves, adventures, and misadventures of four friends as they go on annual for-the-men-only holidays. The trips start almost as a tongue-in-cheek way to pit their youthful virility against the elements and the hardships of “roughing it.” Over time, though, the trips become opportunities for reflection and personal growth. It is here that the true genius of this book shines.
Uliel’s style of writing is a testimony to his skill as an author. After opening with a description of the author huddled next to guns and drugs, he leaves you hanging in anticipation while he takes you to a flashback of the events that brought him to that point. This is a pattern that continues throughout the book: trip, flashback. Adventure, misadventure, flashback. It’s a style of writing that is difficult to do well. Often when an author attempts this, the reader is left confused or more invested in one storyline than the other.
Uliel, however, interweaves the flashbacks with the latest adventure so adeptly that the reader is never lost or confused. Indeed, the events discussed in the flashbacks serve as catalysts for the personal growth and epiphanies discovered on their trips. Woven together, they present a rich tapestry of humor, wisdom, and life lessons.
While Man Mission is by turns humorous and inspiring, it does have some swearing and sexual content. Those who are offended by these things should be aware of that before reading the book. That said, the swearing and sexual content are not gratuitous. The language fits the occasion, and the sexual references are integral to the story.
The text is exceptionally clean copy. I didn’t find a single typo or grammatical error anywhere in the book. (Although to be strictly honest, I was so engrossed in the story that I had to keep reminding myself I was supposed to be on the lookout for mistakes.) I could find nothing in Man Mission that could be improved. Maps of the various mission destinations were an added visual bonus. Eytan Uliel’s Man Mission is definitely worth every single star in four out of four stars.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes