4 out of 4 stars
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REVIEW OF THE SPIRIT OF WANT BY WILLIAM H. COLES
THE SPIRIT OF WANT BY WILLIAM H. COLES is a tragic fictional novel of a young lawyer, Lucy Macmiel, whose life and career started out as promising. Having an affluent background, her future seemed secure and settled. No one expected anything less than success from her. It was a sudden fall from grace to grass when Lucy, through all the bad choices she made, destroyed everything she had: her reputation, career, marriage and her family’s faith and trust in her. It was a classic case of self sabotage. In a sad twist, at a time when Lucy decided to start making better choices and to take charge of her own life, it was too late. Death was impatiently knocking on her door.
Though the character of Lucy Macmiel was the heroine of this novel, the entire book did not completely revolve around her alone. There were several other gripping characters. The character of Elizabeth was most dissimilar to that of Lucy, her sister. Their only similarity lies in the fact that they were both insecure; albeit in different levels. Elizabeth’s insecurity was from the fact that she believed her sister was prettier and their father’s favorite. Lucy’s insecurity, however, stemmed from everything around her: her adoption, her black lineage, her husband’s supposed self righteousness, her motherhood qualities, the list is endless. She saw racism and sexism in nearly everything and everyone. Lucy had a haughty personality. She was saucy, easily irritable, reckless, impulsive, self-centered and inconsiderate; she usually expected so much from others for doing nothing. She always felt entitled. Elizabeth on the other hand was amiable, cool, selfless, peace-loving and meek.
The marriage between Luke and Lucy was impulsive. Though it seemed she married him for the sole purpose of neutralizing him as a witness against her, there must still have been some aorta of attraction but I could never understand any attraction between these two characters. They differed so much in their ideologies and more clearly in what they both wanted from life. As a reader, I could partly understand Lucy’s selfish nature, considering the father figure she grew up with. A.J Macmiel, her father came across as overwhelmingly selfish, arrogant, corrupt, abusive, unappreciative and ruthless. However, even though Lucy grew up with such a father as A.J Macmiel, she was also brought up by a caring mother and she grew up with a sister who did everything in her capacity to love her.
While Lucy allowed her insecurity to destroy her, her sister Elizabeth proved to be wiser. Considering Elizabeth’s antecedence, the fact that she was always timid, laid back and always afraid to express herself on what she really felt or wanted, it was a pleasant deviation from her usual self, one worthy of an applause, when she boldly stood up for what she wanted and gracefully rejected Clay Palmer’s proposal who she had found boring and not dynamic in the course of their relationship. She didn’t stop at that; she fearlessly fought for her love for Luke. Lucy was an insecure character but she was not one that gave in to guilt, not even at the event of the unfortunate death of her daughter, Jennifer, from leukemia. One of her positive qualities was that she took things in stride and moved on.
Hower Bain, Lucy’s obsession, was to me the most influential character in this book. He was chauvinistic, arrogant, disloyal, selfish, unreasonable, manipulative and a philanderer. He operated a scandalous organization which he masquerades as a church. The largest percentage of what he did was a scam; dehumanizing humans, lowering his congregations’ self esteem, making them see him as a supreme being. It was fraud altogether. It is a scheme that is as old as time, yet it still appears to be working. Sometimes, one wonder about the herd mentalities of the congregation in such churches and if there is more to it that meets the eye.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I especially love it because it has genuine and complicated characters. Its plot was original and intelligent; and its numerous twists were unpredictable. The book would appeal to people who are impulsive, the easily forgiving, those with the school of thought that everything that happens to man is destiny as well as those who sees love, attraction and passion as a controlling, incapacitating emotion, that leaves the bodies of humans helpless and complacent. These groups of people would always excuse Lucy’s deeds and indeed see her as heroic since she died at the end of the book. This book might not appeal to moralists, the judgmental and the ‘not so forgiving’. For them, the character of Lucy might be too thought provoking.
On a general note, I think it is a book most people would enjoy reading. It is a memorable book and I absolutely love it.
The Spirit of Want
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