Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review -- Call the Midwife


Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s. Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s. by Jennifer Worth
My enjoyment rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Library
Genre: Memoir
Sensitive reader:  Explicit detail on child birth, venereal disease, and prostitution.

A time capsule.

That is what Jennifer Worth has given us in her memoir, Call the Midwife, a perfectly captured time-capsule of her life in London’s East End, where she trained as a nurse, midwife in the 1950s.

This was a glorious book. Her storytelling was superb. I was immediately transported to post-War London, walking foggy streets, among ramshackle buildings and immense poverty. But among the ruins, is a group of midwives, The Sisters of St. Raymond Nonnatus, who care for the greater population of women of the East End.

We learn to love, hope, dream, care, cry, and mourn for her patients: Mary, a 15 yr old prostitute; Molly, the very young abused mother of 3; Sally, a 21 yr old expectant “mum” who suffers from eclampsia; Mrs. Jenkins, whose story is so tragic, it could be a book unto itself; and Concita Warren, a mother of 25 (take that Michelle Duggar!), who speaks no English, but raises her family with love and courage.

She also gives us a great history lesson about the East End and the “Cockney” residents. It was an education just trying to understand how they spoke!

I wanted to read Ms. Worth’s memoir BEFORE I watched the mini-series. I’m so glad I did. It will be one of my top 5 favorite books of the year. I loved it.

Call the Midwife is the first of a trilogy of books that she wrote – the second, Shadow of the Workhouse, and third, Farewell to the East End. I’m eager to read those as well.

Sadly, I learned that Ms. Worth died last year. I wonder what she would think of her memoir being adapted to a mini-series?
Finally, here is a lovely video of Ms. Worth reminiscing about her work in the East End.  It is a treat.


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7 comments:

  1. hmmm, couldn't find it on CALS. only "The Midwife" by Worth. I think it's a revised edition, so hopefully it's the right one!

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  2. Wonderful review. I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but this one sounds quite interesting.

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  3. I'm so glad I read this review. This is a book that caught my attention. I like inspirational memoirs.

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  4. This is a great review! I love that you include potentially sensitive information for readers as well. I'll have to get my hands on a copy of this.

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  5. Haven't read the book, but the series was fabulous and I think it is coming to America on PBS.

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  6. I just watched the first episode on my ipad last week. I wasn't aware that it's based on a true story. Now I'm eager to watch more, something I wasn't planning on (I just don't have the time these days).

    Glad you loved the book!

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  7. Thanks to your review, I'm going to have to find a copy of this one!

    I just wanted to let you know that I'm reviewing books again at Little Rock Mamas. (My blog used to be Baby and the Beasts, now its Lucky Mama.) We've got a section called Book Nook, if you want to swing by some time.

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