4 out of 4 stars
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McDowell by William H. Coles is an excellent read. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for it’s intriguing adventure, the characters, and the editing.
McDowell is the story of a successful Surgeon and his immediate family. Hiram McDowell was born into a well-to-do family in Louisville, KY and grew to be a successful Surgeon, a leader in healthcare. McDowell created a foundation to fund a hospital in Nepal, he became the President of a group of over sixty thousand surgeons in the world and the President of the U.S. nominates him as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He is a talented musician and seems very happy. Hiram McDowell is simultaneously giving and self-serving, but he’ll choose the latter if given only those two options.
McDowell has three children, all of whom live in different regions of the United States, in different stages of life and all seemingly struggling. It’s obvious McDowell very much cares for his children and he supports them with financial and associative resources. Hiram being wealthy, intelligent and well intended, aggressively asserts himself in his children’s lives when he sees a problem. One situation he solves has him running from the law. During his journey to find freedom, he also seeks purpose and happiness for his soul; things he thought he already had.
From page one, Hiram McDowell is the bad guy. The story starts with him abandoning his climbing partner in the mountains of Nepal. From then, in almost every situation McDowell acts in a sexist, egocentric manner. He lies and manipulates for personal gain. Using the hospital and it’s foundation as a source to fund his personal hobbies. He cheats on his wife and lies to a colleague for political gain. However, I like McDowell for the entire story.
McDowell is supportive to his children. He sends his son, Billie, to music lessons when he discovers Billie’s been skipping school to play instead, and he shows up at his daughter’s apartment when he discovers she’s separated from her partner. In his children’s best interest, McDowell is seemingly selfless. It saddened me that with these intentions, he runs into trouble. However, I love how McDowell changes throughout his journey. Time and again he gives back to the people he meets and the kindness he once only showed to his children is given more frequently.
As a reader, we get to meet so many different people and perspectives. For this, I liked most the characters and character development, his children for example. McDowell’s children believe their father is a good person despite some questionable choices. His son is simply a lover and finds happiness easily. His youngest daughter, Sophie, takes a little longer to come into herself. We meet her when she’s still in school and deciding what she wants from life. She seems to choose what others around her want. During her growth, I wasn’t too fond of Sophie; I wanted her to be more aggressive. Hiram’s eldest daughter, Ann, is also struggling with happiness. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like she will find it in her lifetime.
I think anyone could relate to one of McDowell's characters. This story is ultimately the journey to find happiness and it comes more easily to some than others. I love that the author focuses on happiness as a main theme.
This book is excellent and I really didn't dislike any part outside of what is expected. There are some situations that are uncomfortable to read but that’s reality and I appreciate what it adds to the story. The book is very well edited with no noticeable grammar issues. Majority of adult readers would enjoy this book. McDowell by William H. Coles is mature, deep, honest and adventurous. If that’s not what you’re looking for in a book, then this story is not for you.
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