4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Guilt and redemption, what could possibly make a better theme in a novel? If this is a contrast that interests you, then William H. Cole’s McDowell is the book for you. As a reader, you will experience a range of emotions and be left as you finish the last page with a feeling of compassion.
McDowell is a novel that has a main central character called Hiram McDowell. McDowell is a well-known high-flying surgeon who was internationally acclaimed from running medical foundations outside the United States, having led international councils and was being nominated to become the United States Secretary of Health. The first part of the novel focuses on building up the character of McDowell and his complex life. This really assists the reader to view him as a whole person. Included in this first part are rich descriptions of his estranged wife and the issues with his daughter and young son as they grow to be adults. McDowell presents as a self-serving man who is aware of his own importance. In addition to alienating his family, he creates conflict with peers, co-workers, friends and anyone else he interacts with. As a result of several bad decisions at work, McDowell finds himself having to run from the law. The remainder of the novel follows McDowell on his new path and documents the changes in his outlook and behavior through time as a result of the different people he encounters. Each person he meets brings a different and refreshing perspective to him and his character grows in unexpected ways. How does this story end? There are no answers here, you will need to read the book!
There are many questions that I often find myself asking when you hear or read of a person who has afflicted something terrible on others. Does that person deserve to continue living? Should they be allowed to love again? Can a leopard change its spots? In the initial stages of this novel, I found it very hard to connect with McDowell as his philosophy on life was so different from my own. However, I persisted with the book and found that I was not able to put it down once he started his new path. It made me reflect on my own life and how meeting different people can really change your life and philosophical outlook. New encounters and ways of life can help a person to process what their life means, and it was this process that I enjoyed most about the novel. The other aspect I enjoyed was the on-going reflection on the impact that people’s relationships can have on their future. If people are not accepted or treated with respect, when life throws you lemons, it is amazing how people who were once thought to be insignificant in your life can have a large bearing on outcomes of your decisions.
The part of this novel that I disliked was the start where McDowell’s character is developed. Although this was crucial to the rest of the story line, it was hard reading about a person who cared so little for others and was only focused on themselves. There was also confusion at times between chapters about the length of time which had lapsed between McDowell’s chance meeting with one set of people and his next encounter. This meant that the reader occasionally felt like a small piece of the connecting story was missing.
I rate this novel as a 4 out of 4. It was professionally edited and had no grammatical mistakes. Once I had got past the initial character building, I was not able to stop reading the novel and found myself thinking about it long after I had finished reading. This is the reason why I would not rate the novel a 3 out of 4. This novel will appeal to a variety of readers, particularly those interested in psychology and the way that a person’s mind and outlook can change over time. I would not recommend this novel to younger teenagers as there are a few non-explicit sexual scenes in it.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes | on Smashwords