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Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
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Call the Midwife (original 2002; edition 2006)

by Jennifer Worth

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8645810,324 (4.15)1 / 150
Member:MmeRose
Title:Call the Midwife
Authors:Jennifer Worth
Info:Soundings Ltd (2006), Edition: Unabridged, Audio Cassette
Collections:Non-fiction (Other)
Rating:***
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Work details

The Midwife by Jennifer Worth (2002)

  1. 10
    All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: These books have a similar nostalgic feel for a community and an era.
  2. 00
    White City by Donald James Wheal (bergs47)
  3. 00
    Arms Wide Open: A Midwife's Journey by Patricia Harman (cransell)
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English (55)  Spanish (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Some of us are lucky to have defining periods in our lives, a time that forever remains the center and from which we measure the rest of our lives as “before” and “after”. For Jennifer Worth, that time seems to be the 1950s when she worked as a midwife in London's East End while living in a nun's convent. This was a transitional period for the community as well. Many of the tenements had been condemned and residents were biding their time until their relocation. Worth recalls the difficulties of adjustment, the primitive working conditions by today's standards, the lessons she absorbed through observation of the nuns and their methods, the occasional interpersonal conflicts that result from living and working in close quarters, and the joy she experienced as she formed deep and lasting friendships.

Readers familiar with the television series based on the books will notice a few small differences between the book and the show. The book itself has an episodic feel, with each chapter describing specific incidents from Worth's experiences. The books and the television series remind me of a much-loved favorite, All Creatures Great and Small. They have similar nostalgic elements that recall a community and a way of life that now exist only in memories. Worth has captured her memories with words that have the power to transport readers to that place and time. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Jan 12, 2015 |
I really enjoy this series on PBS and thought it would be fun to read the book it was based on.

First, I was amazed at how well the series was cast. Almost every character from the series was completely recognizable in the books. (including my favorite - Chummy). So Kudos to the casting director!

I enjoyed all the stories and while some were familiar - it had been long enough since I had watched the first season that I didn't remember all the details of the stories.

It was a bit slow slow for me - especially after the half way mark. But a good read overall - if not a page-turner. ( )
  alanna1122 | Dec 23, 2014 |
Jennifer Worth recalls her life as a nurse working as a midwife while living at a convent in England. These were the post-World War II years, and poverty was rampant. The people these nurses care for are poor but accepting of their lot in life. They fear the workhouses and scrape by as best they can. The midwives bicycle to their patient’s homes, carrying their supplies in bags tethered to the bikes. They go out in all kinds of weather, at all hours of the day and night. In this first book of the trilogy, the reader is introduced to a wide variety of people, from the handyman at the convent, to the nuns who were also nurses, to the mothers in need of midwives as well as other ill people, and finally to the nurses themselves. It is a fascinating account of life at that time, both the good and the bad. ( )
  Maydacat | Dec 14, 2014 |
A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times is a fair description of this story. This is the story of a young woman at the beginning of her nursing/midwife career and her experiences and observances of the London East End during the 1950s. The telling reminds me of the style of James Herriot and his veterinary novels, interspersing humor with pathos, joy with sadness and telling the story of a people and an age. It is very graphic in places, especially when she describes the prostitution of that time.

I have a very difficult time reviewing this, because I read the audio version. I believe I would have given this book at least four stars for the content and the writing if I had read it in a print version. However, listening to the audio, it was very difficult for me to give it three and a half stars. I am sorry to say that to my ears, the narrator was very unsuitable for this story. She has a soft, sing-song style which would be well suited to a cozy mystery, or a children's fairy tale, but it was very unpleasant to hear the hard details of this story read in such a voice. It made a mockery of it. My teeth would grind as I tried to hear the real story behind the voice reading it. Very unsatisfactory experience, and I could not recommend the audio version of this story to anyone. ( )
  MrsLee | Nov 2, 2014 |
This story wheels us back to the 1950s and the East End of London. Through a memoir of her time as a midwife, Worth introduces us to the perils and joys of life in a nunnery helping deliver babies in the poor parts of London - a London still rebuilding after WWII. The homes are teaming with children and laundry and mothers and the docks are swarming with hard working men. Worth is not a nun - but rather a nurse focusing on midwifery. And Nonnus house is the perfect place to learn.

The chapters tell the stories of a wide variety of families - including one where mom only speaks Spanish and dad English. They have clearly figured out how to make it work - they have 25 children. The youngest is a baby born so premature he only weighed 1 and 1/2 pounds - at home - and he survived!

I am not always a fan of memoirs - they sometimes meander across the years backward and forward more like a conversation than a story. This one behaved itself! I felt like I had a front row seat at a time of life that I am rather happy not to have lived through!

I want to be sure to watch the PBS adaptation! ( )
  kebets | Nov 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer Worthprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coates, TerryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cole, StephanieReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Philip, my dear husband.
The history of 'Mary' is also dedicated to the memory of Father Joseph Williamson and Daphne Jones.
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Nonnatus House was situated in the heart of the London Docklands.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in postwar London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies...from the plucky warmhearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children, to the prostitutes and dockers of the city's seedier side..illuminate a fascinating time in history.
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Jennifer Worth was just twenty-two when she volunteered to spend her early years of midwifery training in London's East End in the 1950s. Coming from a sheltered background there were tough lessons to be learned. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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