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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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2922138,453 (4.21)42
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 non-fiction work has been made famous by the BBC series of the same name which was based on Jennifer Worth’s memoirs. Being a big fan of the series, I was eager to read the book, and I was not disappointed.

If you have seen the series, many of the stories and characters contained within this book will be familiar to you; if you haven’t seen it (first of all, why not?!) and second of all, it doesn’t matter a jot. The book preceded the show and therefore you don’t need any prior knowledge to enjoy this book.

Rather than a chronological account, the author tells many different stories from her time at Nonnatus House in the East End of London as a midwife. Many of the stories are heartwarming and amusing, but there are also some tragic tales – the story of Mary, a young girl who ran away from Ireland to escape abuse only to find a worse fate waiting for her in London, is heartbreaking.

I felt that the characters of the Nuns of Nonnatus House were well described, although I didn’t feel that I learned much about Jennifer (Jenny) herself. It is clear from her writing that she was well-educated and intelligent, but other than that, she is largely reticent about her private life. However, the real heart of this book lies in the East End characters and indeed the East End itself – I feel that she brought the time period to life very well, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Highly recommended. ( )
  Ruth72 | Feb 3, 2016 |
One of the best series I have ever read ( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
One of the best series I have ever read ( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
One of the best series I have ever read ( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
One of the best series I have ever read ( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
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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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