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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

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953619,110 (4.13)1 / 179
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: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth (2002)

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Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Would absolutely recommend this book - as long as you aren't squeamish about OB/GYN procedures and birth! Keeping in mind this is non-fiction, and the author is not a "writer" but rather an older woman sharing the amazing stories of her life - this is very enjoyable. My only issues were that the story jumps around a bit and doesn't really flow - but again, she isn't a "writer" by trade and so all is forgiven. Very interesting read - I loved the people she knew and helped, and I loved the way she compared life then, with life now to remind us how very much living standards and technology have changed since the 1950's. ( )
  BeckyGraham1016 | May 18, 2015 |
This first volume in the memoir that the BBC TV series of this name is based on is a fascinating, well-told read, though the incidents relayed will be very familiar to anyone who has watched the show. The memoir is perhaps a bit more detailed, though the show certainly gets most of the particulars of life, midwifery, and 1950s medicine in. The series and the book organize material differently, and therein probably lies the biggest difference between this source material and the television produced from it: the TV series is a story with a social conscience revolving around characters while the memoir is anecdotal social history less concerned with "what will happen next." In particular, it focuses less on the personal lives of the midwives. I suspect reading the book(s) first and then watching the show would be the more rewarding activity rather than watching and then reading (the show feels a bit like it fleshes out and invitalizes what is already on the page), but the book still has much to offer if one's already watched. Worth tells the stories compellingly, explains things well, and is particularly good at demonstrating how naive or misguided her younger self was without sounding dismissive or self-deprecatory. Recommended. ( )
1 vote lycomayflower | May 11, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (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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