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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth 5 of 5 stars.


At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move to a convent and become a midwife in postwar London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies--from the plucky, warmhearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children, to the prostitutes and  dockers of the city's seedier side--illuminate a fascinating time in history.

Jennifer Worth is a remarkable woman with a beautiful story to tell, one painted by the all the colors of real life in 1950's London. She shows us what it's like to be a young woman, dedicated to the care of other women on a bicycle with a simple bag headed to home deliveries, something almost inconceivable today. We get to see what life is like for the feisty nuns at the convent where she lives.

Worth not only illustrates a world full of big and beautiful characters living their day-to-day lives but seamlessly incorporates information on the history of women's healthcare that not only gives us an insight into the past but into the present politics surrounding the issue. She did this so well that it didn't burden the story in the least, and I felt like I learned a great deal over the course of the book.

Some of the characters she depicts made me laugh out loud while other made me cry. One of the most important topics she touches on is the red-light district in London at that time. She does a marvelous job showing the reality of the situation by letting us see it through the eyes of a poor, young girl who was coerced into stepping into that world and then found herself trapped within it. Parts of it are very hard to read, but I feel it is something important to show when we have the reality of it all around us today as part of the human trafficking situation.

Overall, I adored this book and I think anyone who is a fan of the BBC series will as well. Jennifer Worth is a natural storyteller with a good sense of pace and suspense. It is as far from 'a boring memoir' as one can get.

*To order Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, click here.

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