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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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2151054,204 (4.18)24
Member:csking5000
Title:Farewell To The East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives
Authors:JENNIFER WORTH
Info:PHOENIX (2009), Paperback
Collections:Your library
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Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth (2009)

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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. ( )
  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 |
This is the last of the three books in Jennifer Worth's trilogy about her life as a midwife in London's East End, and this book is the weakest of the three. While some of the stories from the television series are here, there is way too much technical jargon, as well as expository chapters about the conditions of London's East End, medical practices, etc. for this to be a truly enjoyable read.

I did, however, like reading the real story of Chummy's romance with the policeman and the further stories of Sister Monica Joan, and as such it's a good companion to the televised series. ( )
  etxgardener | Jun 5, 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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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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