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Call The Midwife - Book - Jennifer Worth
Call The Midwife - Jennifer Worth
Member Name: RCLEARY57
Call The Midwife - Jennifer Worth
Advantages: Too Many To Describe - SUPERB to sum it up in one word!
Disadvantages: Can't Put It Down!!!
This book was lent to me by my Mum yesterday as we are both avid readers (although her taste in books is rather different to mine). I am stuck at home with a broken ankle and shoulder so I can't do much else but to read. When I first looked at the book I immediately thought of the TV series that I had seen advertised on the TV recently but never bothered to watch (I am a CSI nut and having sky it seems to be on constantly so my TV experiences don't stray much from there!!). I took the book and put it to one side thinking that I would give it back to her a few days later telling her that I had read it and it was great (Lies....I know....!!!). So maybe an hour later my partner decided to put some F1 programme on so I picked up the book huffily and started to read.......and read....and read until 2 hours later and the whole 340 pages had been read!!!!
On first look at the book, to be honest it's not that eyecatching. In Block Capitals the name JENNIFER WORTH and in smaller caps underneath THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER. A third way down the cover CALL THE MIDWIFE - and below - A True Story of the East End in the 1950s. The picture that fills the rest of the page is of three women, midwifes as you can tell by the old fashioned red hats with gold button and blue dress with white collar, on bicycles in front of children on the street and lines of washing strung from one house to another. A nice picture once you really look at it but not one you would notice in the midst of other books. In the right hand bottom corner written in a box is the words As Seen On BBC.
The back cover promotes the story saying -
LIFE IN LONDONS EAST END in the 1950s was tough. The brothels of Cable Street, the Kray brothers and gang warfare, the meths drinkers in the bombsites - this was the world Jennifer worth entered when she became a midwife at the age of twenty-two. Babies were born in slum conditions, often with no running water. Funny, disturbing and moving, Call the Midwife brings to life a world that has now changed beyond measure.
Underneath this blurb there are pictures of the 4 books, I want to say in the series but having not read them I cannot say for sure, Jennifer Worth has also wrote. The back cover also promotes the cast of the BBC show with their names underneath. having read the story now I am able to look at the characters and place a few of them in the story even though it only gives their real names and not the names of them in the show.
Overall not a great cover to the book but not a bad one either. What's inside totally makes up for what is missing on the outside. On the subject of the content of the book, I am going to get right to it as anyone could have wrote what I have already have just by looking at the book (I want to be concise as this truly is an amazing book!).
The book starts with an 8 page introduction into Nonnatus House, a house with a 'family' of Nuns living in it who had all trained and were qualified Nurses and Midwives. The house of St Raymond Nonnatus was in teh London Docklands and was opened by a group of devoted Anglican Nuns devoted in bringing safer childcare to the poor. There were also other houses opened by the same order in various slums of Great Britain for the same reason.
It is discovered in the book that Jennifer Worth was a a midwife workin with the Nuns and living in Nonnatus house. She had originally trained at The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading as a nurse before moving onto Nonnatis house to become a midwife and judging by the rest of the story she was a brilliant one at that!!!
The book takes you through many different types of birth (some of which I will mention later) but also tells the story of what it was like to be living in London in the 1950s and some of the cultures and mannerisms of the people who lived and worked there.
I particularly enjoyed the way she spoke about the respect given to midwives in that era, a respect which we do not always see now. The fact that a midwife was one of the very few people that could go walk or cycle any time of day or night to attend a patient and always be greeted with a smile or a cheery wave despite all of the brothels, gangs and 'bad pennies'. They felt safe and secure no matter where they went which just shows what an amazing job they done and how they were admired for it.
In one part of the story it tells you about a midwife who called herself 'Chummy' she was a rather larger than life character '' 6 foot 2 inches tall, with shoulders like a front row forward snd size 11 feet'' described by Jennifer as what she thought was a ''bloke in drag'' the first time that she seen her. Chummy was a person who spoke with phrases such as ''good-egg'' and ''old-bean'' and was that clumsy she could fall over her own shadow!!
To get around midwifes had to use bikes as there were not many cars around in the 1950's and it was the faster mode of transport for making emergency calls or basic everyday visiting as they each had a lot of patients to get through each day. ''Chummy'' did not know how to ride a bike and needed to learn, because of her size the only bike available for her long legs was a large Raleigh of about 1910 vintage made of solid iron which weighed about half a tonne!!! Her answer to this was positive as always ''Never Mind, I can learn'' and ''Not to worry, I can practice''.
Through this activity her respect was earned not just because of the midwife that she was but the was she handled herself and the respect that she gave out to others, others like a tough looking 12 year old who was at first jeering her when he saw what she was doing but then turned his jeers into silent admiration for the woman who fell off the bike more than she was on it and positively declared her grazed knee with the gushing blood - ''just a scratch'' or her head when banged on a kerb ''no brains, no hurt''!!! That boy, Jack, then went onto teach her and aid her to ride the bike early in the mornings and late at night, declaring to her that if she were to get any trouble off the children who followed her and jeered at the sight of her attempts, just to tell him and he would sort it out for her. I thought that this was an amazing thing to have achieved such a connection with a child and I was nearly in tears reading that when she had to learned to ride the bike, she presented him with a bike of his own for helping her to ride. Something which a lot of children did not have in the 50's. Even though she was perfectly able to ride on her own and there was no threat of danger to her he still went with her on her calls, him on his bike and her on hers and he waited outside guarding the two bikes for all that he was worth - amazing!!
The stories that are told of the births and some of the conditions that they had to deliver the babies in make you gasp outloud!! It is such a different world from today. I don't want to go into too much detail as if you are wanting to read the book I don't want to spoil it all for you as most of it is more powerful when you are reading it all to yourself at once.
Jennifer writes the book with the upmost admiration and loyalty to the Nuns and it is not surprising why when the different events are presented in thhe story. This is truly a book that will make you laugh out loud in places and reach for the tissues in others. I am truly thankful that I was able to read it as I am now going to give this book back to my Mum (She donated them back to the St Johns Hospice, where she purchaced them from, once they have been read) and purchace a copy of this, the other books in the series and also the DVD of the BBC series to have for myself as I know that this will be a book I will read again and again!
The Book - Call The Midwife can be purchaced from Amazon for £3.86 + FREE P+P for the copy that I have or if you want to get the matching set the book also has another cover and this copy can be purchaced for £3.92 + FREE P+P.
To buy the full set of matching books from Jennifer Worth you can get Call The Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, Farewell to the East End and In The Midst of Life from Amazon.co.uk. They are all purchaced separately (not a box set) and are a combigned price of £15.62 FREE P+P.
The DVD set of Call The Midwife is also on Amazon for £11.99 FREE P+P.
In case you are wondering I am not promoting the book!!! :) I just think that Call the Midwife is an amazing read and plan on getting the whole set ASAP and just thought others maybe interested aswell.
100% Amazing read, must have book for anyones collection. Highly Recommended!!
Summary: Must Have, Must Read, Must Not Put Down!!!!
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