4 out of 4 stars
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The Spirit of Want is a book about the self-destructive behaviors of human beings. The story is set in the 1980s and is narrated using three different perspectives, all converging in the city of Atlanta. In the first part of the book, we are introduced to a beautiful and well respected lawyer named Lucy, who happens to be adopted by the MacMiel family. After a car accident, she resorts to marrying Luke out of necessity which leads her to become extremely discontent with her marriage. Her life starts to take a tumultuous turn when she falls in love with a client who is accused of raping an underage girl.
As life continues in Atlanta amidst her absence, Lucy begins to become suspicious of the man she has fallen so deeply in love with. Absolutely consumed by Hower Bains world, she finds herself longing for the things she once loathed. In an attempt to regain remnants of her former life, she moves back to Atlanta and realizes she is completely shunned by her family and friends.
William H. Coles could not have chosen a more appropriate title for his book. He was able to create this constant tension in the relationships between people by exploring their perverse and inexplicable need to self-immolate. It is not easy to create such complex protagonists that force the readers to plough internally for some sense of empathy. He meticulously uses his character developments to shine a light on the narcissistic behaviors of human beings. This is particularly evident in Elizabeth’s willingness to be a donor even though Lucy who would not have even considered it if the roles were reversed. The lack of remorse or sense of accountability is almost borderline psychopathic.
The only negative aspect of the book I can conjure up is the infrequent spelling or grammar mistakes but it, in no way, takes away from the strong themes in the book. The equally most prevalent being Power. Even though Hower Bain and A.J. MacMiel have polar opposite careers, the author is able to note the similarities between them in terms of the amount of influence they have on the people around them. This feeds their ego to the point where they believe that they are divine and above the law. One starts to really question if power really corrupts or does it just manifest ones innate selfish desires?
In closing, I rate The Spirit of Want 4 out of 4 stars. There is nothing I can take away from this book, it was a riveting page-turner from beginning to end. I am so enthusiastic about the vital discussions that this book will spark among readers. It is evident that the abuse of power is an ideal that spans all the way back in time and it just reminds us of the importance of holding people accountable for their actions. I feel that this book is suitable for young adults and crime-drama fanatics. The vigor in the author’s writing is unmatched.
The Spirit of Want
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