4 out of 4 stars
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Man Mission by Eytan Uliel is a story about four best friends who take annual "manly" trips together over a span of fifteen years. They hike, bike, sail, kayak, and more through different countries all around the Globe. It started as an escape from their busy lives that revolved around hard work and growing families. As a group of four middle-aged men, two bankers, a lawyer, and an advertisement agent, they wanted something to make themselves stay in shape and to feel macho while doing so. It ended up being life changing experiences that helped them through some of their hardest times. Teaching them how to become real men in ways they didn't anticipate. This is a story of how they each age physically as well as emotionally into true, macho men.
I gave Man Mission 4 out of 4 stars for several reasons. I couldn't find any spelling errors and the story is easy to read from beginning to end. This first-person narrative is written like a memoir and each paragraph jumps between their current adventures to what occurred in their personal lives over the past year. I like that before each chapter the author, Eytan Uliel, put insightful quotes from random sources and the bible. "Somewhere deep down there’s a decent man in me, he just can’t be found." was one I thought was funny just because I never expected one of the quotes to be by Eminem.
I thought the story was amusing; the four friends had witty personalities who liked to constantly tease one another. I found myself envious of their adventures through mountains, oceans, and several other forms of nature. I like books that have the main characters go through self-discovery trials and reflect back on the lessons they've learned over the years. Each one spends the year working hard for a steady job with good pay and gets married to make a family, being the men they were groomed to be. Once a year though, they have the chance to run freely and test each other's strength against nature. They get to have the nice breaks from reality that almost everyone day-dreams at work about, I know I do.
I thought it was easy to find the unnamed first-person narrator and his three friends relatable because when the book begins we are nearly all the same age. The more the story advances it shows how he goes through phases of stress, excitement and the fear of growing old. All things that I'm starting to face in my everyday life as well. I love all four, but I think my favorite character is Sam. He is the care-free, athletic, outgoing, food-junkie that I would have hung out with in college. Daniel and Alec are enjoyable, and each has relatable qualities of their own too, though. Daniel is calm, organized, and likes to think things through, so he can be fully prepared. Alec lives to party and has a fear of commitment, but he is able to turn his life around and settle down as he matures with age.
There is some foul language which should be expected from a book about four macho men proving their manliness in the wild. It's hardly erotic with no sexual scenes, just a sexual act or two mentioned by name. I would recommend this book to young adult readers and above. The younger audience will find this story amusing and adventurous while the older generation finds it more relatable while still entertaining. I wish it could be turned into a movie just so people who don't enjoy reading, like my significant other, could enjoy it too.
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