4 out of 4 stars
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McDowell is one of those books that will leave you pondering. You'll laugh, cry, feel hatred, judgmental, and even revise your initial judgment of the main character.
Hiram McDowell is a reputable surgeon, a philanthropist, a mountain climber, a professional backup singer, a charismatic leader, and a one-time Secretary of Health, nominated by the US President. However, all that seems to be on the surface. In his core personality, you'll find him selfish, narcissistic, and uncaring. Hiram seems to have issues with being faithful to one woman. He prefers not to expend unnecessary emotions on them. Those emotions are reserved for the big donors of his foundation in Nepal. His third wife Carole is as miserable as his previous wives. And his children suffer the consequences of his attitudes. They're deprived of what it means to be a real family. Though now grown-ups, they're unable to fit-in properly. Ann now married, lives in a persistent state of anxiety and depression, unable to properly raise her children. While Sophie and Billie are rife with different issues. For a surgeon who cares for others, it's not hard for Hiram to make people feel belittled, inferior, and demeaned. He often shows lack of consideration for the feelings of others and is completely absorbed in personal achievement and wealth. But all that seems to change when things begin to go downward spiral for him.
Hiram is a Regent in the International College of Surgeons, but he thinks he needs to be the president. To achieve that, he enlists the support of a colleague with the promise of a mouth-watering position. Hiram gets what he wants but fail to deliver on his promise. This behavior angers the colleague who vows to destroy him. He becomes the health secretary confirmed, but his life is immediately ruined due to a family tragedy. In his bid to salvage whatever is left, he commits a felony that leads to his ultimate punishment. The result is his journey of self-discovery. His many encounters with people whom ordinarily he wouldn't have hung with, reveal what a changed man he has become. But will he succeed in his quest to rebuild his life, and garner the always-desired esteem?
William H. Cole's McDowell is a fascinating story. It is an in-depth portrayal of the principle of cause and effect. Of what you do today might haunt you tomorrow. This set me thinking about the lives we lead. Which I believe is the primary purpose of this story to set you thinking. The first half of the book showed Hiram in all his glory. As a man who is in charge of his life. But the second half portrayed him as a total float that is driven by his situations. Often alone he tries as much as possible never to be found as he journeys from place to place meeting new people and hiding from the law. It appears he would not have had this experience if he was just a little more attentive to people when he had money, power, and fame.
The book has an incredible character plot that touched on many aspects of life. One of such is the role of parents in their children's lives. Another is how family conflict and decadence affect children and are responsible for so many troubled young-adult in today's society. Another important issue brought up in this book is the subject of euthanasia. Can there be a situation when it is appropriate to take a life? I had trouble deciding if the judgment served in Hiram's case was proper. The author's description of the press, also made me question the magnitude of power they wield. A person's subjective conclusions could make a devil seem like an angel, while overblown news could lead to condemnation of the innocent. There is a need for a lot of checks and balances in the media.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It's one of the best books I've read in a while. I loved every part of it except Hiram's punishment. I'm just unable to decide if that was alright. There are some sexual scenes and gay relationships covered in this book. There are no grammatical errors in the book. I found only one or two typos. The book is so inspirational that I'll recommend it to every adult, especially people in positions of authority because it will serve as a reminder that life isn't constant.
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