3 out of 4 stars
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Before I read McDowell, by William H. Coles, I didn’t know it was possible to hate the main character so intensely and still love the book. It’s an interesting story that seeks to answer this question: Can a man truly change?
McDowell tells the story of Hiram McDowell, an arrogant surgeon who is on important committees, does philanthropy work in Nepal and is eventually named Secretary of Health and Human Services. On the surface, he appears to be a model citizen. The reader also learns about McDowell’s family: his son Billie, daughter Sophie, his daughter Ann, and her children Penny and Jeremy. They all play important roles in McDowell’s life. The reader also meets Paige, a reporter doing a story on McDowell who recognizes he isn’t what he seems.
After tragedy strikes the family, McDowell’s character is called into question, and his life takes a turn for the worse. This tragedy is the beginning of a riveting, life-changing journey for McDowell as he seeks redemption.
What I liked most about the book was once a key event occurs I continued to be shocked by what followed. Crazy things kept happening out of nowhere. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next.
What I disliked most about the book is how slow it starts. I was bored reading the first quarter or so of the book. That part goes through McDowell’s accomplishments and gives background information on his family and other main characters. In hindsight, this first part of the book was necessary to lay the foundation for the rest of the story. Also, in the author’s defense, it went from boring to “oh my goodness what just happened” for the remainder of the book.
I also disliked that it wasn’t always clear how much time had passed between events in the book. It would have been helpful to have the year printed at the beginning of each chapter.
I would rate McDowell 3 out of 4 stars. I can’t give it a 4 because the beginning was so boring. I wasn’t sure if I could finish the book at first. I wouldn’t give it a 2 though because once you get past the tedious beginning, it’s amazing.
People who don’t like slow starting books wouldn’t want to read McDowell. People who like surprises and suspense would enjoy it.
McDowell, by William H. Coles, is a complex novel that I loved reading. Through learning about the lives of the characters the author touches on the issues of euthanasia, gun control, feminism, and redemption. It’s well written and edited and tells the story by intertwining the lives of the different characters. I would love to get inside the author’s head to find out how he decided to write this book!
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