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The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and…

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

by Jennifer Worth

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,269986,218 (4.12)1 / 213
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
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)
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    Arms Wide Open: A Midwife's Journey by Patricia Harman (cransell)

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English (97)  Spanish (1)  All (98)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
In the 1950s twenty-two year old Jenny Lee leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in London’s east end slums. This memoir chronicles Worth’s experiences.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Mar 7, 2017 |
:) :) :) : )

Jennifer Worth is the bomb-dot-com. Read it all! ( )
  kemilyh1988 | Jan 16, 2017 |
A young nurses accounts of what it was like working in the East End of London in the 1950's. An enjoyable eye-opening read. I loved reading the accounts of how things were and it makes you appreciate how well things are now and we really have nothing to complain about. The conditions in which these families were living were actually awful but they had to make do and got on with it. The birth rate was absolutely huge as well with women having up to 25 babies - my goodness! Thank goodness for contraception. Also the fact that babies are living when being born prematurely and the maternal death rate has decreased dramatically. Reading of how things were for the nurses/midwives was very interesting. They had a huge workload and Jenny seemed very devoted.
Overall a great insight and its definitely worth reading. ( )
  Nataliec7 | Jan 2, 2017 |
Very interesting, post WWII England, a woman stays in a convent and practices midwifery. Didn't quite "get" why that was, but in any case a nice mix of her stories of that, and of births. Well done, interesting & educational. ( )
  JeanetteSkwor | Nov 15, 2016 |
Like the “real Downton Abbey” book I read a couple years back, this one misses the magic of the show, at least for me. This book has all the stories and tragedies and joys of the first couple seasons of the BBC Call the Midwife show. And they are interesting. And it’s a bit easier to ignore the gross bits when they are in text rather than video beamed into you eyeballs. So that’s nice.

But the musings and philosophizing of Jenny are almost unbearable. They are in the show as well, but normally they are kept to the initial and final voiceovers. Jenny just has a sort of savior complex that, even when she talks about how “resilient” or “hard-working” her patients are, it still feels like she doesn’t think they are quite as civilized as she is. I feel like I’m being harsh. It wasn’t really as bad as all that. It just seemed like that was going on under the surface of the text.

Overall, this was a quick read, once I decided I was going to do it (I had started it a year ago, but gave up because of the pontificating). It does paint an interesting picture of mid-20th century East End life. It gives a bit more medical information than the show, without assaulting you with graphic images. I just couldn’t get past Jenny. ( )
  jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer Worthprimary authorall editionscalculated
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.
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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)

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