Customer Reviews for

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

Average Rating 4.5
( 117 )
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(64)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Great Book! A Must Read Whether Or Not You've Seen The Show!

I first heard of Call The Midwife when I was flipping through channels and stumbled upon it on PBS. I was immediately drawn in and had to go back onto the website to watch all the episodes I missed. When the first season was over I did some investigating and found the...
I first heard of Call The Midwife when I was flipping through channels and stumbled upon it on PBS. I was immediately drawn in and had to go back onto the website to watch all the episodes I missed. When the first season was over I did some investigating and found the show was based on the true memoirs of Jennifer Worth. There are actually 3 books in the series, this is the first of the three and each chapter is basically a short vignette of an experience nurse Jenny Lee had during her time at Nonnatus House.

It is a fairly quick, easy yet interesting read. Made all the better because the stories are true. I would highly recommend for anyone!

posted by socksgirl on March 1, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Another book with too much press

I read this for a book club and enjoyed parts of it, but the graphic details of brothel life left me gagging more so than details of birth. As a child of the 50s and one of six children, I understand that life back then had little interest in curtailing the population,...
I read this for a book club and enjoyed parts of it, but the graphic details of brothel life left me gagging more so than details of birth. As a child of the 50s and one of six children, I understand that life back then had little interest in curtailing the population, but, please, 25 children? No one in their right minds would think that was normal or smart. That the last child survived is quite unbelievable. I haven't seen the BBC series which I understand out-paced "Downtown Abbey", but I prefer the restraint in the latter series. I'm still a big fan of "fade to black" when the bedroom door is closed. Having read the reviews, I expected more.

posted by Less_Is_MoreCL on November 19, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    An unexplored area that deserves mentioning

    The book is right in line with the PBS series "Call the Midwife". It may be a little graphic for some, but as a retired nurse, I found it right on the mark as far as providing maternity care for the indigent. Great descriptions of atmospheric London neighborhoods in regards to the weather and people. Enjoyed it a lot.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    great story

    I enjoyed this memoir. It was certainly a rough read in places but it's also terribly engrossing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    very good read

    If you enjoyed the TV series you will enjoy the book. Extends the picture of their lives more. Some might not care for the descriptions of actual practice of helping deliver babies, but very informative.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    Great read, but don't expect the tv show

    The showv deviates from the book, but a good read! Had to put it down quite a bit, because I became too emotionally invested. The author really portrayed her characters true to life.

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  • Posted December 12, 2013

    Love this, love the series

    I found this book to be an absorbing and fascinating story. The author is an excellent story teller although I wasn't completely convinced she remembered all those details in each personal story. The stories about abortions with crochet hooks horrified me completely, but I found it to be eye-opening nonetheless being that this was in a period of time where birth control didn't exist and where becoming pregnant was not a choice. The book also sheds light on the fact that we've come further in our attitudes toward mothers in all circumstances, but that unfortunately, we haven't come far enough in caring for those who bring precious lives into our world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    My grandmother was an English nursing student and midwife during

    My grandmother was an English nursing student and midwife during WW2 and immediately following. She spoke fondly of her work, but never told us any stories (real stories) about the patients she encountered during those days.  I can't help but wonder, after reading Jennifer Worth's stunning memoir (and the two that followed) if my grandmother wasn't trying to spare young innocent ears. Or perhaps a piece of herself. Call the Midwife is not for the faint of heart and not for those expecting the romance of post-war nurses delivering cute, perfect babies. There is hope in this tale, but something decidedly more. The book is rife with pain, suffering, prostitution and godliness (provided by the nuns, of course).  For her raw style and hold-no-punches attitude, for giving us the sunshine as well as the sorrow, I believe Jennifer Worth to be one of the most honest writers of the time period. I'm very pleased to have discovered (and devoured) her works.  

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  • Posted June 21, 2013

    Poignant Memoir

    Jennifer Worth will draw you in to the most graphic and realistic of scenes of the East End in the '50's. Well written, this is an easy read; with chapters depicting individual stories of the people and personalities she encountered while working as a midwife in one of London's most impoverished communities at the time. Experience heartbreaking and heart-soaring moments, in a no-holds-barred type of narrative - details of which may make more sensitive readers slightly queasy, but I appreciated her truthful look into how things were with the medical world still transitioning from home births to hospital natal care. Well worth the read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Our book club chose this for the month. I had seen a couple of

    Our book club chose this for the month. I had seen a couple of episodes of the show on PBS. The book is so much better. It is fascinating to hear about the way of life in that era and in that location. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Totally enjoyable!

    A must read for anyone who has been caught up in the PBS series. I found myself laughing out loud. I really enjoyed this first book and can't wait to start the second. It filled in and made situations clear by reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Good Read¿

    This book tells the wonderful story of Jennifer Worth as she works with families in the East End on Britain in the mid-50's. The television series introduced me to her and the book gave me additional vignettes. A very dedicated woman, who made huge contributions to her patients. This offers readers a first hand look at midwifery. Well worth a read.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    Fascinating look at post-war Britain

    After having watched the series on PBS, bought the book. It was clearly written by a non-professional writer--some awkwardness, some lack of continuity, many gaps in story-telling. However, these tend to make what Ms Worth does say more real. It is hard to believe the level of poverty she encountered not so many years ago, in an East End which no longer exists. She clearly was a sympathetic and highly skilled midwife and a kind and multi-faceted person who resonates in one's mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    wonderful read

    A wonderful read...just as good as the PBS series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Worth reading

    If you watched the series on PBS, it is nothing like the book at all.
    The book is down to earth, not fantasy. My only complaint is that is
    it too short. More on how she began her midwifery and the daily
    routine.
    I still recommend reading it.

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    Posted November 13, 2013

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