4 out of 4 stars
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McDowell by William H. Coles is a fantastic read. The characters, both primary and secondary, are so well written and developed that they were what drove the plotline. Hiriam McDowell is a top surgeon that has all the comforts that anyone could desire, but he lacks compassion for not only his colleagues but his family as well. Can Hiriam learn to have empathy for others? It might take a big change in his life, but I think so.
There are multiple themes explored in this book that could challenge other people's morals. One being the misogynist main character, especially since he kept being overly focused on women's imperfections. This leads to moments of infidelity, which stemmed mostly from the dislike of his spouse.
Another theme that might be offensive to readers is a sexual relationship between two characters that are step-siblings. However, it is important to note that they weren't raised together as siblings. They were introduced in their teens, and it was never specified that they view each other as family. This isn't the last theme that questions morals.
The next theme that might offend some people is whether it is ethical to use euthanasia when a patient can't give consent for assisted suicide. It may be viewed as murder due to the circumstances, or it is viewed as euthanasia because the patient has no quality of life. If someone can't have a fulfilling life, it isn't merciful to leave them as a vegetable.
As I mentioned before, the characters were exceptional. Every single character served a purpose, none were just background fodder that wasn't useful to some degree. Even the personae that were used for one chapter, as they give more insight to other dimensions of the more prevalent persons. This is a big thing that I enjoy about Mr. Coles writing.
While this book is labeled as part of other fiction, it could be called contemporary fiction and drama. A lot happens, which makes it difficult to pen this book as one particular genre. Relationships are tested, and characters are so well written that this could potentially be made into a movie. I know that I would be interested in a film where you are supposed to hate the main character, and intrinsic societal norms are tested.
This book only contained four errors that I saw, which didn't detract from the plot at all. While I totally despised Hiriam from the beginning, he grew on me through his travels and his children. If you are willing to overlook the aforementioned themes and enjoy having your thought process tested, then this book is for you. In light of all of this, I give McDowell 4 out of 4 stars as it delivers a very sound story that made me feel a myriad of emotions.
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