4 out of 4 stars
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The McDowell by William H. Coles is a beautiful non-fiction novel. The story revolves around a doctor; Hiram McDowell, his family and the people associated with him. Through this book, the author has unearthed many hidden realities of the medical profession; some positive and some negative. McDowell is a philanthropist and at the same time a man void of moral compass. William H. Coles’ view of McDowell’s character makes the reader to ponder over the importance of morality in the medical profession and its lacking- the lust for fame, money and sex- ultimately ruins not only a doctor but also his family.
Hiram McDowell is a renowned doctor, apparently known for his philanthropist tasks and climbing the high mountains. In Nepal, he establishes a charity foundation (hospital) and time to time go for climbing the towering mountains. His appetite for fame compels him to deceive his colleague to become the president of International College of Surgeons. His family is too unhappy with him. He has three children: Ann, Sophie and Billie. He deceives his third wife and his disrespectful behavior prepares her to detach herself from him. The illicit child of Billie also becomes a source of trouble for both.
Although McDowell cares for his children, yet none of them are satisfied with him due to his selfish nature. Ann is passing through a difficult marital relationship and is coping with disturbed children. Sophie, after the death of her close friend is striving to sustain as a professional photographer. Owing to McDowell’s countrywide reputation for his professional achievement, Paige Sterling makes a documentary on his life and reveals many hidden facts. His positive services in the medical profession and love for his children are undermined due to embezzlement in foundation funds and his self-centered, arrogant nature. Ann’s son Jeremy brings ultimate downfall of McDowell. The pathetic downfall of renowned doctor (McDowell) and his struggle to hide his identity gives the story a new direction.
The story is a delightful combination of love, professional intrigues and moral void. William H. Coles has covered the novel from different aspects. At one side, he discloses the harsh realities in the medical profession, on the other hand we see McDowell with a noble profession, involved in philanthropic activities but his inner character is devoid of moral values. His wrong attitude withdraws reader’s sympathies with him despite his constructive social work. Other bleak side of his personality is his conservative attitude towards women, as he considers them not more than a sex symbol. Only positive thing is this he cares for his children.
William H. Coles has a very keen eye over moral degeneration and on prevailing taboos of society. In this novel, the author through his expert description of the hidden feelings and experiences of characters keeps the reader engrossed in reading about starts to end.
One negative thing, I found irritating is frequently sensitive scenes. Sometimes it seems non- fiction -cum- romance novel and the interesting thing is this that William H. Coles provides a vivid picture of Nepalese culture which adds beauty to the story. Overall the book is professionally edited and I could not run mistakes. So I rate this amazing book 4 out of 4 stars.
In a nutshell, I would say that the McDowell is a worth reading book. The story of a venal doctor, his intriguing efforts to achieve a high professional position and his obscene attitude towards women creates a very balanced and reality-based plot. The book is a valuable leisure time option for both young and adult readers. So I would commend it to both. I am confident that the readers would enjoy this story a lot.
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