4 out of 4 stars
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Loving is not the first word that comes into the readers mind when they first meet Hiram in the book – McDowell written by William H. Coles and published on the 22nd of August 2015. The book is a fast paced story in literary fiction. The author has written ten other books and more than a dozen short stories so it would be understandable if I don’t go into detail about his other works.
Ambitious, ruthless and cunning are just but a few adjectives that would describe Hiram; president of the board of regents of the international college of surgeons, head of a department of surgery in Denver, loves the adrenaline rush that comes with climbing of high mountains, keeps fit through running marathons, founder of a foundation that up fronts a surgery center in Nepal and on a highway to being in the president’s task force to launch a health care initiative for financing the uninsured. Hiram tricks Michael O'Leary, a key member of the college’s board of governors executive committee, into rallying his medical team behind him during elections with the promise of promoting him (Michael) to the position of executive Director of the college only to appoint Tom Gadner (a colleague).
It is such a pity that Hiram seems to have a phobia for commitment as seen when Carole, his third wife who has practiced clinical psychology, asks for a divorce when she finds out that he has been living with Rima, another woman. Hiram responds by saying that he never promised fidelity; ‘Your choice’, he tells her. He is indifferent to his wife’s needs and even misses her birthday to be with Maria; a random hook up. His selfish nature is revealed when he receives news of Tasha’s, his step daughter, pregnancy. He demands that she aborts the baby citing that Billie, his beloved seventeen year old son, cannot be blamed for Tasha’s mistake. I would, however, play the devil’s advocate and give him credit of being a caring father because he does this to protect Billie whom he terms immature and with a great life ahead of him. Is this book about the rise and fall of McDowell? Find out about his breaking point and his defining moment.
The title is what attracted me to the book. I liked the fact that the author did not go into details when it came to sexual scenes. The author handled the themes of revenge, love, ambition, religion among others with leniency. He allows the readers to make judgement about heavy subject matters such as euthanasia and Lesbianism. I admired the author’s writing style whereby he did not go into detail about petty scenes and issues. For a moment, I thought that the novel was nonfiction. There was a correlation between the tone, pace, mood and flow of the novel. The author addresses the role of the media in reporting free, fair and impartial news. I don’t get along well with my step dad yet in this book, Hiram does not get along well with his step children. This got me wondering whether it is normal for step children to have a strained relationship with their step parents and if it is abnormal, then who is to blame? Who is supposed to be the voice of reason in a family?
However, there seems to be a confusion when it comes to the name Candace and Candice for example in page 31. In page 154 there is an omission in the name Michal; Michael. In page 320, ‘…were at one end the room’’ instead of ‘….were at one end of the room’. Despite the above errors, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
I rate this novel 4 out of 4 stars. There is nothing I hated about the book. I highly recommend it to anyone above the age of twelve with a passion for literature. This novel taught me that no matter how well we succeed in hiding our past, it will always catch up with us. I also learnt that we are not always victims of circumstances and that bad situations in our lives are not always pre determined.
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