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Farewell To The East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives (original 2009; edition 2009)

by JENNIFER WORTH

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Member:csking5000
Title:Farewell To The East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives
Authors:JENNIFER WORTH
Info:PHOENIX (2009), Paperback
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Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth (2009)

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Jennifer Worth concludes her memoir trilogy with Farewell to the East End. She seems to have exhausted most of her own extraordinary childbirth experiences in her first book. The second book focuses more on home health care rather than midwifery. This one gets back to midwifery, but recounts experiences of Worth's fellow midwives, Cynthia, Trixie, and Chummy. I liked this one better than the second book, but not as well as book one. This is mostly a second-hand account of things that happened in the 1950s and it's difficult to tell how much accuracy has been lost in the retelling. Worth refers to events that she related in her first two books so it would be better to read those books first. ( )
  cbl_tn | Mar 21, 2015 |
This third installment wraps up Worth's series of memoirs set in London's East End in the 1950's. It's a mix of odds and ends stories, all interesting in their own right, but providing little narrative cohesion--which is perfectly OK. I think she wanted to wrap up the loose ends and get a couple more patient stories in front of readers. My favorite part was the end where she gave us summaries of what happened to all the major nurse and nun characters. But I would have liked to know what happened to Mrs. B and Fred, as well.

Having watched the series on TV before reading the books, it was fun to see how the TV writers dealt with the material: combining some characters, switching others, but ultimately staying true to the original story telling which focused on the effects of grinding poverty, poor housing, and lack of education. The flip side is the obvious affection Worth had for the resilience, good humor, and hope of the people who had to soldier through what today would be considered intolerable conditions. A very worthwhile series, easy reading, but touches a resonant chord in modern times. ( )
1 vote MarysGirl | Sep 29, 2014 |
More of the same kind of stories, alternately heartwarming and tragic, from Call the Midwife, as well as epilogues on the characters. Worth occasionally tells a story that she couldn’t possibly know, as in the story of Bill and Hilda and their desperation; she seems to have heard about the end of the story and then gone back to the beginning to imagine what drove them to such a pass. I particularly enjoyed the story of big, awkward Chummy attending a birth on board a ship, and how it led to her romance with a policeman. Perhaps not a striking as the first book, but definitely worth reading if one enjoyed the first. ( )
  jholcomb | Aug 30, 2014 |
Love these books by Jennifer Worth. This one was one of the best as it wraps up her time at Nonnatus house (a convent which provides widwifery services to the poorest of the poor in the east end London). Such horrifying and beautifully written stories. Makes me feel very lucky to be living in a time when I can give life to my beautiful girls without worrying how I will feed them or if they will fit into our bomb site one bedroom apartment. ( )
  Erin.Patel | Aug 22, 2014 |
Love these books by Jennifer Worth. This one was one of the best as it wraps up her time at Nonnatus house (a convent which provides widwifery services to the poorest of the poor in the east end London). Such horrifying and beautifully written stories. Makes me feel very lucky to be living in a time when I can give life to my beautiful girls without worrying how I will feed them or if they will fit into our bomb site one bedroom apartment. ( )
  Erin.Patel | Aug 22, 2014 |
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Epigraph
In 1855 Queen Victoria wrote to her daughter Vicky, the Crown Princess of Prussia, who was expecting a baby:

What you say about the pride of giving life to an immortal soul is very fine, but I own I cannot enter into all that. I think very much more of our being like a cow or a dog at such moments, when our poor nature becomes so very animal and unecstatic.
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Dedicated to Cynthia for a lifetime of friendship
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Someone once said that youth is wasted on the young.
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Book description
The last book in the trilogy begun by Jennifer Worth's New York Times bestseller and the basis for the PBS series Call the Midwife.

When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the poorest section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood's most vivid chronicler. Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End is the last book in Worth's memoir trilogy, which the Times Literary Supplement described as "powerful stories with sweet charm and controlled outrage" in the face of dire circumstances.

Here, at last, is the full story of Chummy's delightful courtship and wedding. We also meet Megan'mave, identical twins who share a browbeaten husband, and return to Sister Monica Joan, who is in top eccentric form. As in Worth's first two books, Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times and Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse, the vividly portrayed denizens of a postwar East End contend with the trials of extreme poverty—unsanitary conditions, hunger, and disease—and find surprising ways to thrive in their tightly knit community.

A rich portrait of a bygone era of comradeship and midwifery populated by unforgettable characters, Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End will appeal to readers of Frank McCourt, Katherine Boo, and James Herriot, as well as to the fans of the acclaimed PBS show based on the trilogy.

[retrieved 1/19/2015 from Amazon.com]
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The Call the midwife trilogy is comprised of Call the midwife (not included here, c2002), Shadows of the workhouse (not included here, c2005), and Farewell to the East End (this book, c2009). Together, this series chronicles Jennifer Worth's career as a midwife from start to finish, from her arrival in the war-scarred Docklands as a wide-eyed trainee, to the demolition of the tenements and subsequent closure of Nonnatus House. It provides a fascinating snapshot of social history, documenting the East End in the days when there was a real sense of community, when times were tough but there was plenty of good humour and neighbourly support to help the inhabitants through the harsh economic climate. The book also enables readers to follow Jennifer's personal story, as she discovers the amazing resilience of a population still bearing the scars of war, and the vibrant community of nuns with whom she lives and who teach her the skills of midwifery. In stories that are funny, disturbing and moving in equal measure, we meet prostitutes and abortionists, bigamists and mischievous nuns, and see Jennifer earn the confidence of people whose lives are often stranger than fiction.… (more)

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