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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

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8275410,945 (4.17)116
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

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Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (2002)

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English (53)  Spanish (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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 |
sad when the book ended. that time has really gone--nuns and cockneys! ( )
  mahallett | Nov 1, 2014 |
This was slow going for me. I have never watched the show so I wasn't expecting anything out of the book. I found it interesting to read about how birth was in the 1950's in England. The stories of all the different women that she meets was entertaining.

One woman had given birth 25 times. It is hard to believe that. Women and infidelity and then worrying about the baby not looking like the father/husband. ( )
  crazy4reading | Oct 31, 2014 |
I enjoyed this memoir. Worth writes well and compellingly of her time as a midwife in the East End of London in the 1950's. I very much enjoyed the TV series and was interested in how the writers of the show used the original material. Sad, funny, and uplifting, these books are a testament to the human spirit as well as an astute history lesson. ( )
  MarysGirl | Sep 29, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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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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