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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
1,134887,220 (4.12)1 / 199
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

Call 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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Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
The show follows the plot of the book, fairly closely which is to be expected. However the book contains a wealth of beautiful detail that never quite made it into the show. This book is a wonderful snap shot of a place and time I really didn't know much about. ( )
  Shadowling | Jun 6, 2016 |
Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times - Jennifer Worth
audio performance N. Barber
4 stars

“In the late 1950s we had eighty to a hundred deliveries a month on our books. In 1963 the number had dropped to four or five a month. Now that is some social change!”

I’ve only seen one episode of the series based on this book, but I’ll probably go back for more. The book is very entertaining. It’s true that it has a James Herriot format. The linked chapters are essentially a series of short stories, full of engaging characters in a variety of situations that revolve around the midwives of Nonnatus House in the London Docklands of the 1950’s. Stories of hardship and ugliness are evenly balanced with comedy and heartwarming triumph. If the anecdotes are somewhat fictionalized, the author also provides interesting factual commentary on medical issues and the changing demographics of the area then and now. As Nonnatus House was an Anglican convent, there is also a subtle Christian overtone to the narrative. It is not in the least bit preachy. The author is simply relating how exposure to the nuns and their way of life affected her as an essentially irreligious young woman.

I was not impressed with Nicola Barber as a reader for this book. She handled the regional accents well, but her narrative voice was that of a breathy little girl, more appropriate for a reading of Peter Rabbit than for detailed descriptions of difficult obstetric situations.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
A true account of a young midwife's experiences in a poor section of England in the 1950's. The vibrancy with which the author recounts her experiences amazed and fascinated me, especially since she wrote about things 50 years later! ( )
  niquetteb | May 26, 2016 |
I was fascinated by this window into the lives of women in London's East End in the 1950s. It made me realize, once again, how much the lives of women have changed in the last 60 years. ( )
  Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
The Librarything app strikes again - my review has disappeared! Read for bookclub and loved it so much I went out and bought the next 2 in the series. Great characters, great setting and wonderful ( if at times heartbreaking events.)
Here is the Goodreads synopsis:
"Call the Midwife' is a most extraordinary book and should be required reading of all students of midwifery, nursing, sociology and modern history. It tells of the experiences of a young trainee midwife in the East End of London in the 1950's and is a graphic portrayal of the quite appalling conditions that the East Enders endured."
Older teenage readers would cope with the graphic descriptions of birth and also poverty. Read for bookclub. ( )
  nicsreads | Apr 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer Worthprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coates, TerryEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barber, NicolaReadersecondary 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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