Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

This book has been on my radar ever since I found out my beloved tv series was based on a book, so when it was up for grabs at the library (it's a very popular one, so I had to wait a while), I snapped it up.

Call The Midwife is the memoir of a woman who worked as a midwife to London's East End during the 1950s. The East End has always been the slummiest of slums in London, and in the 50s it was no different. The London docks employed many men in those days, and their families all lived in this area - the inhabitants were poor, uneducated, and without birth control, so you can imagine how many children there were running around. Jenny Lee shows up to the area thinking she is going to work at a hospital only to discover that Nonatus House is actually a group of nuns/midwives. The book is really a collection of stories on different types of delivery issues and social issues that Jenny encounters during her work. She tells about breach birth, premature birth, normal birth, eclampsia, mixed race birth, prostitution, underage mothers, and much more. She balances the fun stories with the not so fun ones well to keep an upbeat tone. If you've seen the British tv series, you pretty much know the stores - I was really surprised at how well the series follows the book. The whole first season of the show covers the first book (there are 3 books), and while it does embellish a few things and gives more detail and personality to the characters other than Jenny Lee, all the changes were fairly understandable and translate well. The book is just a nice introduction to the world of home birthing, and a peek into the slums of 1950s London.

I really enjoyed this book - it was just a nice, light read with a good message. If you have any interest in the show, you will definitely like the book. This was a nice way to get a different view of the world for a short time. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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