4 out of 4 stars
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Review of McDowell
This is a family saga. It is the story of Hiram McDowell, a surgeon who after having seen the high-end of life is thrust by the wheels of fate into imprisonment and charges of second degree murder. McDowell haves everything in the start except the qualities of a good human being. The reader is through various incidents repeatedly shown how McDowell is a person of weak moral fiber. After losing everything McDowell wants to redeem himself.
The beginning chapters show McDowell is a selfish, unlikable and arrogant man. McDowell is nominated for sectary of health and human sciences. McDowell having reached the top in his career loses everything when his grandson goes on a killing spree. Whatever might have been McDowell’s planning life has a way of testing the real character of a man. The grind of life comes forward to do what might be Gods real plan for him. He descends to the lowest level of existence. The circumstances in his life has reduced him to wandering fugitive for whom survival is very tough. We watch him learn the true meaning and purpose of life. He learns the virtues of humanity. He realizes the importance of family values when he lives near simple people for whom family values is foremost. After suffering so much McDowell now wants to belong. He has come to the conclusion that "it is no good if people seek success and money only for their own satisfaction and self-worth”
I thoroughly enjoyed the character development of McDowell. William H. Coles very expertly made this character come alive for us. Through powerful dialogues and intriguing plot the reader ends up holding their breath for what will happen next. The catharsis of McDowell redeems his character which makes the reader sympathize with him in the end. We see McDowell’s spiritual transformation when we see him tread the path of the downtrodden. These people are despised and held in contempt by McDowell earlier on in the book. This book gives a message of love and giving.
When McDowell starts writing his memoirs it is very difficult for him to grapple with the truth. He travels around the country. He just drums to get by. He has anger inside him about his fall from grace. For him revelations takes a lot of time. When this process of introspection is over, his character after taking all the knocks thrown his way, finally comes out in a positive light. He has developed a lot as far as his character is concerned.
The whole book seems like it is preaching to the modern man. The symbol of McDowell stands for the modern man. The modern man was improvised in his own cycle of life. The basic principles of life have been left though true peace can only be achieved if we live close to nature. The book has a lot of hidden undercurrents. The author has given other interlinked stories in the book. The story of McDowell’s children is weaved very expertly throughout the book. I feel it would appeal to most of the adult readers.I rate this book a 4 out of 4.
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