Newest Review: ... before which works quite well for me. I find I have to re-read the last couple pages of a chapter to remember where I left off with most... more
Call the Midwife - Jennifer Worth - A fascinating read
Call The Midwife - Jennifer Worth
Member Name: siberian-queen
Call The Midwife - Jennifer Worth
Date: 08/04/11, updated on 15/04/11 (94 review reads)
Advantages: heart wrenching yet heart warming
Disadvantages: perhaps not to read if you are about to give birth - save it for after!
I was actually given the book "Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth" to read by a friend.
The book is the working life story of the author, set in the 1950's of East end London where she began her training as a midwife with the nuns. This was the start of midwifery as we know it, prior to this there had been no trained midwifes, babies were born by there mothers and there mothers alike with no or little outside help. If help was required either a lady who delivered a lot of babies was called upon or if very lucky the doctor was called, although the doctors often had little or no training in births.
The story might to some seem like it may be somewhat repetitive and I must admit I was prone to that thought before I commenced reading. This book is full of surprises though, I found it captivating the whole way threw and yes most of each chapter does relay a tale of a birth, each is so different from the previous, it is a joy to read.
I particularly like the way the author has included the London dialect into the book and even goes as far as a small section in the appendix to elaborate the meanings for those who can't work it out. It brings so much more real life to the stories. In the back there can also be found medical terms used and what they mean.
This period of London was the times of the slums, post war Britain and the Kray brothers ran the East end. I particularly liked the sentence in the book that Jennifer wrote when she said that no one would walk alone in the East end at night for fear of the Krays - the only people that could go out alone at any hour without fear of attack were the midwives! They apparently had the respect of everyone - including the Kray's.
The book can get heart wrenching at times, the stories go into so much detail of life back then, which although grateful in many respects that progress has been made, I can't help feeling that we have lost an innocence and simplicity of life that those people enjoyed.
One of my favourite chapters emphasises this to me and it is that of Len and Conchita, who had 24 babies!! And that was 25 by the end of the book!
Jennifer gives precise details of deliveries so beware for those a little squeamish. This my not be the best book if you are about to give birth yourself - save it for after!
The detail that Jennifer goes into does not just enact the births but the surroundings as well, with the prostitution, dockyards and beginnings of mixed races. She somehow manages to capture you right back there in the middle of it all.
I 100% recommend this book to others. It is a fabulous read of true East end London and the hardships people dealt with post war, told threw the eyes of a midwife.
This book can be found on Amazon for around £5 and un-known to myself at the time this is the first in a three part trilogy the next two books (which I will now get to read are ) Shadows of the workhouse and farewell to the East end.
This review maybe posted on Dooyoo and also on Ciao under the same username.
Summary: a fascinating read of a true story of a east end 1950's midwife
More reviews in the field of Biography
- Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France - Nicholas Shake ...
- Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr - Jud ...
- Do The Birds Still Sing In Hell? - Horace Greasley and Ken Scott
- Tudor: The Family Story - Leanda de Lisle
- Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro - Charly Wegelius
- Mother's Ruin - Nicola Barry
- Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain - Charles Cross
- Tim: An Ordinary Boy - Colin Parry
- Black, White and Gold: My Autobiography - Kelly Holmes
- Going Ga Ga - Mel Giedroyc