2 out of 4 stars
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McDowell by William H. Coles is an intriguing journey which takes you from elite societies of North America, to the poorest in Nepal and then back to America, this time in the company of homeless people.
Hiram McDowell is intelligent but self-absorbed with personal achievements and fame. He can do anything to be successful, can even left his friend to die while hiking. But off course this is just the beginning, He is so involved with his admirable image that his life becomes a pursuit of wealth and recognition. As the story progress his thirst for power costs him his third divorce, a family of three children that cares about his monthly paycheck way more than him and allies that turned foes because of his mistreatment. In his quest of power he ends up in a place where he never dreamed of being, jail. And yet this is just the beginning of an unexpected life.
The best thing I liked about the novel is the progress everyone makes as an individual and evolves from their previous selves. Let it be Paige, Sophie, Billie, Ann or McDowell everyone’s life was no less than a mess when the novel begins and yet slowly they pick up the pieces and make it work, not miraculously but steadily. It is a story of transformation and redemption, not only of McDowell but of everyone involved. Everyone had a past which they are not proud of and they struggled for improvement. As the story peaks everyone had come a long way from their respective beginnings.
For me McDowell’s character is the most complex of all, he does not take responsibility of anything that goes wrong in his life and considers himself a victim in every scenario. He blames others for everything that is wrong in his personal and professional life. But being lonely in the second half, he is forced to consider life from a different point of view. He made true friends and tried to redeem himself by genuinely caring about the people he engaged with.
The pace of the book was not fast enough to keep me engaged for longer span of time. The monotonous narrative results in loss of interest in much of the first half. The second half is better but still feels dragged a couple of times.
I would rate McDowell 2 out of 4 stars as this book presents enough twists to keep you bounded, but it lacks the pace required for proper impact of those twists. A handful of simple grammatical errors make it hard to believe that the book was professionally edited. I would suggest this to anyone who is interested in politics in corporate offices or family oriented novel, but only if they can handle the slow pace of this book.
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