4 out of 4 stars
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Hiram McDowell is the protagonist of this work of art, McDowell. He is a selfish, arrogant and deceitful man with an I-dont-care-for-others-feelings attitude. He is a mountain-climber who loves getting to the peak of highest mountains which might seem impossible to achieve to others. He also plays musical instruments like the harp and harmonica. He loves using people to get what he wants which is being ahead of others. He is a blame-shifter who doesn't like to take responsibility for his actions but prefers to transfer the responsibility for his actions, errors and misfortune to others. Hiram, however, has some good qualities: he cares for his children and he is always concerned with their welfare and well being.
Hiram McDowell is a surgeon with three children from his first two wives. He manoeuvred his way to be the president of the International College of Surgeons, Chicago, from his position as the Regent to the board of directors. He did this by convincing Michael O'Leary, a key member of the college's Board of Governor's executive committee, to deliver some votes for him in exchange for the post of executive director which he himself wasn't sure he could deliver. Failure of Hiram to fulfill his end of the bargain in not appointing Michael as the executive director, made Michael to begin to look for a loophole in which he could indict Hiram with. He planned Hiram's downfall by looking for errors and discrepancies in his past record which he actually found. Hiram, however, escaped punishment by a hairbreadth.
Karma was however not done with Hiram as his errors and actions which comprise discrepancies in lab, fundraising malfeasance, mismanagement, fraud and second-degree murder, caught up with him. He was convicted by a jury and sentenced to twenty-five years for second-degree murder.
The book, McDowell, is in two parts. The first part of the book is about Hiram's success, achievements, actions and errors. The second part is about his fall which basically is his conviction, escape from prison, quest for survival, the final discovery of himself, and his inevitable end.
The second part of the book opens to another part of Hiram. His character became one without a future, with a misery of relentless solitude, despair, full of anger, loath for others, and anger at the cruelty and unfairness of life, not until he began to see life from another perspective.
This book is a life reality of what happens in our world today. It gives a vivid picture that shows and tells us that we are responsible for our actions and inactions, and the different choices we make. It highlights the biblical injunction that says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12), which is the principle on which life is based.
This book is an eye opener that reveals what our actions do to others and also to ourselves with the reward and consequences following.
This book gave me mixed feelings about the character, Hiram. Reading the first part of the book, I didn't like Hiram's character but with the second part, I began to have a likeness for Him because I was able to see reasons behind his actions and behaviors.
I also appreciate the fact that he began to change during his prison-escape time. I liked the fact that he began to take interest in others, made friends, helped those he met during his escape, and had an impact on their lives.
The plot of the story is painstakingly written, well-defined, well-laid, and very explicit. The author used the style of writing where in as different characters come to place, their locations are always given. This actually is a plus to the reader as he's able to understand and track the characters easily.
The author is picturesque in his details which is a great advantage to the reader in helping to have a mental image of the scenes and characters. It also helps the reader in following the plot of the story and not to get lost in other details.
What I didn't like about the book is that there were interjections of other characters in the book which I feel isn't necessary. It seems to me mostly as a diversion from the story line.
The book also has many characters: the background of the main persons Hiram meets is always given. I see this as unnecessary.
I didn't like that Hiram died. In fact, I was pained when I read that he died because that was the time when he discovered himself and his life started having meaning.
From the book, the story can be surmised as 'a failed surgeon who finds himself to make a new beginning with new perspectives and potential. "
This book has different themes ranging from health, politics, religion, corruption, morality, violence, to journalism, photography, art, music, biography/memoir writing, and self discovery.
This book is professionally edited as there was no grammatical error and typos. I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The language used is easy to understand as there were no ambiguous words used.
This book is a good read for those who wants to discover themselves or those who think their life is over because they've become an outcast in the society or those who are depressed because of their past actions which they now regret.
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