4 out of 4 stars
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McDowell by William H. Coles
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that count. The book McDowell by William H. Coles is about the lifelong journey of a competent surgeon, chasing his ambitious dreams without a conscientious care for the people around him. He becomes very successful in his career. Owing to his careless attitude, the glory doesn’t last long losing everything he holds precious. That is precisely when he ventures cautiously on the soul-searching journey.
The book has 72 chapters which are divided into two parts. The first is about the phenomenal rise of the protagonist and second, his imminent fall. Success and failure can be viewed differently; it typically depends on the individual and their definition of success. Hiram is a successful surgeon and is at the peak of his career. He is elected as the president of the international college of surgeons and also gets elected as the United States Secretary of Health. He establishes a charitable hospital at Nepal and ventures to conquer the Himalayan peaks frequently, mountaineering being his ardent passion. His craving for success makes him selfish, untrustworthy and inconsiderate. His family life is a mess. He doesn’t regard his wife well, enjoys an extramarital affair and doesn’t share a great bonding with his kids. He provides for his kids financially but doesn’t get involved in ensuring their wellbeing. He exhibits an extremely conservative attitude towards women, utilizing them as mere sex objects or for his convenience.
The book is thought-provoking. It will force you to reflect if you admire or hate the protagonist. There are circumstances where one is bound to analyze if the actions of Hiram were appropriate, considering both emotional fronts and complexity of the situation; was there any other way out? For e.g. abandoning his ailing companion at the Himalayan mountain ranges. Emotionally one would find it heartless to abandon a friend behind. But considering the adverse and unfavorable climatic condition, he must have realized there is no possibility of saving his friend and decided to save himself. Being a doctor, he must have accessed the situation.
The writer has skilfully broached sensitive issues like euthanasia, adultery, betrayal, corporate corruption, favoritism, and Chaupadi. The other characters in the novel are thoroughly well developed each demonstrating a significant role in Hiram’s journey. I particularly liked the character of his daughter Sophie and son Billie.
I will rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. It was a pleasure to read the book and has no errors. I will recommend it to all readers who enjoy a good read.
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