4 out of 4 stars
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Man Mission, written by Eytan Uliel, is a captivating fiction book detailing the adventurous events of the main character and his three comrades. The main protagonist, whose name is not mentioned in the novel, begins as a law student with a dream to go an annual trip to an exotic location. He shares this fantasy with Sam, another student he met whilst traversing a Food Fair on campus. Sam is immediately intrigued with this idea and, despite the fact that this dream may have started off as a mere youthful and spontaneous suggestion, it affects the pair and their two other friends, Daniel and Alec, for a decade and a half in the future.
The inauguration of "Man Mission", the official name of the yearly ritual, starts in New Zealand, three years after Sam and the main character's original encounter. By this point in their lives, the two are striving for their ideal course in life - a stable job and income, a loving wife, and eventually, children. However, grueling office life soon takes a toll on them and the pair impulsively decide to "just go." Daniel and Alec soon join them on their expeditions in later years. From drinking kava on Fijian beaches, to encountering wise strangers in naturist hot springs, and to gorging on neon green melona bars in South Korea, the four experience things that they would never have thought to happen to them before.
As time passes, and their age increases, their family life takes drastic turns, their careers take on different paths, and they endure much pain, fear, and insecurities. The honesty, insight, and raw emotion in their daily lives hooks us in as readers and makes us feel empathy for them. Personally, I became very absorbed in the book and was fascinated by their achievements, and as an enthusiastic traveler myself, it thrilled me to be able to read about all the culture and environments the four friends had encountered.
I feel that the story, although fiction, was very realistic, engaging, and true to what happens in society today. It was written very cleanly, clearly, and the way the characters developed, expertly fit the story line. Each chapter contained moments of hilarity, agony, and times where pure appreciation and beauty are present in the world.
Through this book, Eytan Uiel portrays how important our family and friends are and why we should treasure them. As readers, we learn how grateful we should be for the people around us that care about us and we are compelled to think about how putting our selfish needs and desires in front of our loved ones can cause potential harm. We also are exposed to many matters of life such as parenthood, marriage, and relationships that provide a new perspective on things. I thoroughly enjoyed Man Mission and rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I strongly recommend this book to young adults and people who enjoy travel.
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