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My sister lent me this book a few weeks ago as she said she had really enjoyed it. There seem to be a lot of books around at the moment which are about the midwife profession since the popularity of Call The Midwife but I had not seen or heard of this one until my sister recommended it. As I don't have kids, midwifery is not really a topic which I would have gone out of my way to look for books about but I do like One Born Every Minute and I do have some interest in the topic.
This book is an autobiography of Linda Fairley, a Manchester midwife, but when reading the acknowledgements a the end it became apparent that it is actually ghost written. I was a bit surprised but it did not particularly bother me.
This book focuses a lot on Linda's younger years and her training. I would say it is more about her journey to become a midwife rather than about her whole career. The tag line about the story of one of Britains longest serving midwives is therefore a bit misleading because most of her long service is not actually touched on here. However, I did find it very interesting to see so much detail about the early stages of her training and career. Linda's personality comes across strongly and she is extremely likeable. We see that she is very hard working but she does not always find everything easy and she sometimes has doubts about her career. Originally she was training to be a nurse and wanted to quit as she found all the illness and death too distressing, so the hospital suggested that she should have a secondment working with the midwives and there she found her vocation. I think this would be really interesting reading for any young person thinking about a career in nursing or midwifery. It is written in quite a human and emotional way so I felt I could really get a good understanding of Linda's life during these years. I felt quite involved with her story and you can definitely feel her pride and love of the job.
It is worth mentioning that some parts of this book are very upsetting as it does deal with some instances of still birth and tragic circumstances which Linda faced and which strongly affected her when starting out in her career. There are also many happy moments shown, and for a short book it does pack in a lot of emotion.
The writing style is very accessible and chatty. I found it a quick, light read. I read it on a train journey and it was perfect to make the time go quickly. It took me about 4 hours to read it.
I would recommend it to anyone who likes autobiographies with likeable subjects, or anyone who has even a passing interest in the midwife profession. Apparently she has done another book which is about more of her midwife career to follow this one which really is just the beginning. I would be happy to read the next one too.