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The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and…
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The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (original 2002; edition 2009)

by Jennifer Worth

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
912609,640 (4.13)1 / 169
Member:jcmontgomery
Title:The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times
Authors:Jennifer Worth
Info:Penguin Books (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Rating:****
Tags:Non-Fiction, Memoir

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 (58)  Spanish (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Love the book. The stories and interesting and told with a real opening to all different walks of life. ( )
  KamGeb | Mar 29, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book. The stories Worth recounts are unbelievable at times! It's hard to imagine people living the way they did not that long ago. (the 1950's) I would recommend this book if you are at all interested in midwifery or just life in the 50's in London. I couldn't put it down.

The only reason I didn't give it 4 stars is because there's a graphic sex scene that takes place in a "Cafe" in the chapter titled, "Mary." The book would have been just as heart-wrenching without going into as much detail in that particular scene. ( )
  redhedcatie | Feb 25, 2015 |
I enjoyed listening to the audio version of the book. That being said, it is harder to review a book when you listened and didn’t take notes. What I liked; I liked the description of England and midwifery in the fifties. I liked the medical sociology of the book. Being a nurse myself, I find it interesting that at one time women were the primary caregivers of health care until it became lucrative, then hospitals and doctors got involved. It does sound like midwifery was much more acceptable in England than in the US. This is a memoir, the author was a young woman of 22 when she chose to become a midwife and to complete her training with the Nannatus House nuns. The nuns were a fun addition to a book that if it was just about delivering babies in undesirable situations would have become quickly redundant. I liked that she put the story in the context of social and medical change that was occurring in the fifties. ( )
  Kristelh | Feb 19, 2015 |
More a collection of stories than a narrative, a sort of All Creatures Great and Small for midwives but utterly charming. Her great love of the people of the East End really shines through. I got a little less about the nuns and other midwives but perhaps that is in the other memoirs of the series. I will probably get those from the library as well. She doesn't pull any punches in the more graphic and harsh descriptions of both births and the harsh lives and she can sometimes wax nostalgic about poverty but still a very worthwhile and enjoyable read.
  amyem58 | Jan 27, 2015 |
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. ( )
2 vote cbl_tn | Jan 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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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