Call The Midwife: A True Story Of The East End In The 1950s
- Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date:
- 05 January 2012
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Brilliant. Jennifer Worth tells a great story. She writes very well, informative and entertaining. This is her autobiography of some of her nursing days, I look forward to trying her fiction of the same era.
From the cover of my edition I thought this would be kind of a fluffy British comedy with a little childbirth thrown in. How pleased I am that I was wrong. Jennifer Worth writes a good history of East Enders in the 1950's that includes discussion of poverty in its various forms from the loving families and supportive community of Poplar to the squalor and hopelessness of the condemned bombed out buildings inhabited by prostitutes, pimps and a few left behind family people in Stepney. She demonstrates the activities of a midwife of that time by describing the care of various characters, has a good side story about life in a workhouse, fleshes out the character of a grouchy old midwife-nun and describes horrible odors in a way that makes this reader grimace. As important as Worth's historical accuracy is her emotional accuracy as she confronts people living in poverty and grows from her natural middle class revulsion to an attitude of acceptance. Less successful, to me, was the accommodation she made with religion, but I guess that was a normal outgrowth of the respect for the hard working nuns who trained her. For linguists there's an addendum that describes the difficulties of writing the Cockney dialect. PBS has a good mini-series about the book that does fluff it up and tone down some of Worth's grittiness, and in the interest of not needing subtitles, leaves out the dialect Worth so lovingly describes.
This book charts some of the career of Jennifer Worth, a midwife in the 1950's. She worked in the East End of London, in the slums at a time when all the tenements were being (or were supposed to be) shut down by the government as being to dangerous to live in. As I had a homebirth earlier this year it was interesting the changes that had taken place over the years. All the stories were interesting, they all weren't about midwifery but some general nursing stories as well. A fab book.
I loved this book,my first baby arrived in 1957 and I remember some of the things she talks about!
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