4 out of 4 stars
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McDowell is a work of fiction written by William H. Coles. This book is a powerful one. The subtle messages passed across by the author are the same issues ravaging our homes and societies today. Messages of poverty, love, gun control, dysfunctional homes, selfishness and so many others.
On the outside, Hiram McDowell was an accomplished man. President of International College of Surgeons, a philanthropist, a wealthy father of three lovely children and a well-respected member of the society. He was even a nominee for the esteemed position of Secretary for Health. But as the saying goes, not all that glitters are actually gold. Mr. McDowell was not always what the public perceived him to be.
McDowell, on the on the inside, was a cheat, a deceiver, a promise breaker, and a serial adulterer who unashamedly bragged about his nature when he told Carole, his third wife “... I’ve never promised fidelity”. Even though he would love to think he loved his children, this man had no real love for anyone other than himself. This is evident in the twisted and albeit miserable lives his children had, partly due to the dysfunctional upbringing and subsequent lack of attention he showed them in their adult lives. All McDowell ever wanted and needed was how to care for his selfish interests at the expense of others. When McDowell “assisted" his grandson’s death, the society and the law, finally caught up with him. He was convicted of second-degree murder by the court and sentenced to jail. But fate gave him a chance at redemption when he escaped from the prison just over a year into his twenty five years jail term. But, will he finally realize the purpose of his existence, how will he cope in the new world as a fugitive? Will he seek vengeance on those he believed, rubbed him of his perfect life? The answers are all packed in this interesting book.
The book has two parts, the first part dealt with the achievements and glory of Hiram McDowell. The second part was about his fall from grace and his struggle to find meaning and purpose for life. The book was written in an omnipresent third person kind of way, which is intended to help the reader understand the characters better. However, I felt this was muffled up a bit. There were instances where the thoughts of two or more characters were aired even though, only one character ought to be centered. Often times I found myself thinking hard to recollect the place and purpose of character.
However I must commend Mr. Coles for the crafty nature of the characters. The protagonist here was portrayed as any normal human. On the outside, he was a gentle man, a philanthropist and a great surgeon. But he had his own issues like every other man. He had his dark and hidden side just like the next man you meet on the street. Although no book is ever completely flawless, credit must go to the editorial crew for a great job.
All the themes covered in the book were saliently laid bare to the reader. This include the plight of young women, who in this modern time, are thrown outside into the hash cold, simply because they are observing their monthly visitor. Another, is the easy access that youths have to guns. The author was a able to link teenage gun violence with a lack of a proper and serene family upbringing. In this instance, the young boy, Jeremy, was a disturbed child. His mother, having little or no knowledge on how to best handle him, ended up fearing him. While his father, enmeshed in his own financial troubles, chooses to believe he was a good child, despite his many atrocities. The truth here is that both parents neglected him. There could not understand him and never tried enough to find help for him. Gun violence and mass murders have over time causes so much havoc in many districts of America and Europe. And I think it's nice of the author to broach on such an important topic.
Despite the little hitches noted above, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is due to the many messages and simple language Mr. Coles employed. I think the world needs to hear more and more of this issues, only then will we be willing to face it and resolve them. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to youths, families and anyone who feels he or she needs to rediscover themselves again.
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