- Paperback: 354 pages
- Publisher: storyinliteraryfiction.com (August 22, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0996190333
- ISBN-13: 978-0996190336
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,362,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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McDowell Paperback – August 22, 2015
Review by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite:
McDowell by William H. Coles is a family saga that follows the life of a selfish and arrogant surgeon, who suffers an epic fall from grace, and the path he travels to redemption. McDowell cares for no one but his children. But then he loses everything when his grandson commits multiple murders and fails in his suicide attempt, which leaves him paralyzed mentally. But the boy dies in very unusual circumstances and McDowell gets a conviction for second-degree murder. He is jailed. Now watch as he escapes and lives as a fugitive, pursued by the authorities and a reporter who is just too eager to interview him before the police catch up with him. Watch as he learns the virtues of humanity the hard way, by taking a path trodden by those he despised when he was powerful and rich. It's a story that follows a man's transformation, and his somewhat spiritual odyssey to a life that has meaning.
William H. Coles has created a compelling character in McDowell, a character forced to embrace the essence of humanity by harsh circumstances. Can he really find redemption? It is fascinating how the character evoked powerful emotions in me and how those emotions evolved as I read on. At the beginning of the story, I detested this character, but his inner journey brought me around and, instead of a sense of revulsion for the man he was, I learned to look at him with sympathy. Here is a story that is character-driven and that explores what is essential in human nature. It is a story that is filled with powerful lessons while entertaining readers hugely. I was completely drawn into the dynamics of the story and read through it non stop. Great story, awesome characters, impeccable plot lines.
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Hiram escapes from prison after one year and seven months, and that starts his journey on the run to a meaningful life. He moves from State to State, climbing and hiding in mountains when necessary. But he feels the need for human connection. His daughter, Sophie is contracted to provide pictures to support Paige’s story about him. He finds a way to connect with Sophie. He begins writing a memoir on his life which turns out to be more of himself-as-victim. He meets Maud the Librarian, her husband and daughter, Selena. Maude spars and duels with him verbally getting him to face up to some of his qualities. His anger lessens. Maud tells him that he was avoiding who or what he was, and that this affected his writing. He is awestruck by the richness of Selena’s singing, which exposed him to his humanity.” In her singing, he experienced … “a feeling of unencumbered joy.” And when he left, “he missed Maud, Pops and Selena with an intensity that surprised him, and he thought of them often with warm memories.” A new person is being born.
He moves as is necessary to hide from the journalist and the police. Each stop is an adventure in coming face to face with himself, and with his talents other than surgery, which he freely shares. Many people feel that he’s on the run, but not a murderer, and so they embrace him. I felt warmth at the description of his encounter with Willie – the jostling introductions; the music; the kindness; and for his parting gift to Willie. And with Wynona, he admits to mistakes and adds: “I guess. I think we shape our heaven or hell by our actions on earth.” “We make our heaven and hell by how we influence the humanity we live in. How we contribute. How we integrate. How we build to make it better.” There is much irony in his final capture.
Paige found his writings and discovered that ‘with intellectual intensity, he searched for reasons for his decline and he looked to building a new life under a new identity completely separated from the past. He became a compassionate person in ways that were antithetical to his past.” Consequently, she “restructured the biography to emphasize his enlightenment to a new way of existing. I wanted the biography to reveal his revelations, not to simply detail his foibles and wrongdoings.”
This is a solid novel, emotional, educational and thought-provoking. The reader gets to see the humanity in the man who professed none before, only reluctantly to his family. The story is well written and compelling. The characters are all strong. I particularly liked Sophie, and her love and belief in her father. McDowell’s lessons are our lessons, even if we may not (as yet) have lost our own souls. **Last thought: This book would be excellent for Literary Appreciation in Senior High School English Literature Classes.
Then tragedy strikes and the character’s life is completely destroyed. I’m not kidding if I say most of the readers will share a sigh of relief at this point. Karma exists! Hooray! And then, slowly but steady, the author immerses the readers in a story of forgiveness, of finding yourself on a road to redemption and embracing a meaningful life. The book is beautifully written, everything in a perfect tone, well-paced, allowing the readers to embark on this spiritual quest. Definitely, the author is very experienced in setting a great story.
You must read it for yourself I found it inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. I read it cover to cover in one sitting, and would recommend it to all.
Most recent customer reviews
loves to read. Very well written. Great author.