Customer Reviews for

Midwives

Average Rating 4
( 164 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(66)

4 Star

(65)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Fantastic Book!

I was an English major when I was in college and have read at least a book a week for years. Midwives was one of the better books I've read in the past year. It is not a unique story in its construction, but it is unique in its topic. Some critics have referred to it...
I was an English major when I was in college and have read at least a book a week for years. Midwives was one of the better books I've read in the past year. It is not a unique story in its construction, but it is unique in its topic. Some critics have referred to it as the modern To Kill a Mockingbird. While it certainly is not up to that level (what is?), it is a great book in its own right.

The characters were immediately involving, even if characterization is not extensive. Bohjalian did a great job of taking me inside the mind of a 14 year old girl witnessing the trial of her mother. There is no doubt that he has a simplistic but elegant prose style that is both involving and enjoyable to read.

The previous two reviewers really missed the point of the novel, I must say.

posted by JHiggy23 on March 9, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

I think that oprah was a little off on this one...

This was an awful book that made me think twice before I turned each page. I still can't figure out what possesed me to keep reading this book, but I think that it was the small chance that maybe on the next page something interesting would happen. I found this very s...
This was an awful book that made me think twice before I turned each page. I still can't figure out what possesed me to keep reading this book, but I think that it was the small chance that maybe on the next page something interesting would happen. I found this very slow and boring and should have been reading a better book, or watching paint dry because both of these activites would have been more stimulating.

posted by Anonymous on April 19, 2004

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  • Posted March 9, 2010

    Fantastic Book!

    I was an English major when I was in college and have read at least a book a week for years. Midwives was one of the better books I've read in the past year. It is not a unique story in its construction, but it is unique in its topic. Some critics have referred to it as the modern To Kill a Mockingbird. While it certainly is not up to that level (what is?), it is a great book in its own right.

    The characters were immediately involving, even if characterization is not extensive. Bohjalian did a great job of taking me inside the mind of a 14 year old girl witnessing the trial of her mother. There is no doubt that he has a simplistic but elegant prose style that is both involving and enjoyable to read.

    The previous two reviewers really missed the point of the novel, I must say.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A jurisprudential take on a midwife mishap

    A courageous story of a Vermont midwife attempting to save a mother and her unborn after intensive labor showed no promise of birth, causing a risky health situation for them both.
    I believe the point of view this story is told from really impacted my enjoyment and eager interest while reading. Many significant, acute details are smudged and hidden throughout the book, but the author skillfully places them in spots I never seemed to forget. This made it important for complete comprehension.
    It truly is a unique plot that adds momentum as its told and allows the reader to see both points of view, which I think is a big part of the writer's intention for the story.
    I very much enjoyed this.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Read

    I'm not a fan of home births, so I really didn't expect to love this book or to find any sympathy for the characters in the story. I'm not saying women shouldn't be allowed to have home births, or that they must have a board-certified doctor present during labor; I'm simply saying it's an option I would never have entertained for even a second. With those thoughts in mind, I picked this book up with low expectations and never expected to find the least bit of empathy for the main character. Boy was I surprised! Regardless of one's personal feelings on home births and lay midwives, it would be very difficult to read this book and not be lured into a strong feeling of empathy for the main characters in this book. I found myself turning the pages, almost against my will. I found myself siding with the midwife and hoping that the legal proceedings would find her innocent and set her free to continue her life's calling. I expected a lot of things from this book - mostly negative. What I didn't expect was to truly love it, or to find myself having to pick up my jaw off the floor as I turned the last page. Excellent read!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2008

    Definitely a Must Read!!!!!!!

    This novel is a must read which narrates the case of Sybil Danfoth, a midwife by heart, who attends the childbirth of Charlotte Bedford on a cold and stormy winter night at Charlotte's Vermont home. Charlotte is a fragile woman who, although tries very hard to push, cannot make the baby crown. After hours of trying, Charlotte doesn't have any pulse nor heart bit and Sybil, aware that the former has perished, performs a cesarean section with a kitchen knife and accomplishes to save the newborn. Nevertheless, before she does so, she tries to reach both her backup doctor and an ambulance, but she couldn't get through any of them. Sybil also tries to get to her station wagon however, the freezing climate doesn't permit her to start it. Here commences the story. The state prosecutes Sibyl Danforth for 'involuntary manslaughter' that could send her to jail from one to fifteen years and no more midwifery, do to what the prosecution calls extraordinary negligence from the midwife. In addition to this fact, the prosecution suspects Charlotte was not death prior to the cesarean section. So a trial begins and both the prosecution and defense witnesses declare. The narration and prose in general throughout the novel are outstanding and specifically the recounting of the trial is superb. However, when Sibyl is cross questioned she gives out a clue that might be horrendous for her defense...and so it goes. The narration of all the comings and goings is done by Sybil's daughter, Connie, a fourteen year old adolescent, in the first person singular. This fact definitely turns into an excellent narrative prose. I give 5 stars for believable and credible story. I give 5 stars for excellent narration. I give 5 stars since I couldn't stop reading till the end. And, above all, I give 5 stars to the author, Chris Bohjalian since he must have gone through a profound research on trials, midwifery, doctors, and obstetrics, among others.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Excellent Read!

    Midwives, by Bohjalian, is an EXCELLENT read! Treat yourself!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2004

    I think that oprah was a little off on this one...

    This was an awful book that made me think twice before I turned each page. I still can't figure out what possesed me to keep reading this book, but I think that it was the small chance that maybe on the next page something interesting would happen. I found this very slow and boring and should have been reading a better book, or watching paint dry because both of these activites would have been more stimulating.

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2004

    Great Book

    Of all the Oprah's book club books I've read, Midwives is the best. It is definitely a thinking book -- not a good choice for general audiences. While not a feel good book (as is the case with most Oprah books), it does not depress the reader to the point of making it unpleasant to read (as in White Oleander), or shock the reader so violently as to cause apathy for the characters (as in She's Come Undone). Even though parts of the book were unquestionably slow, the heart of the story was engaging enough to justify reading on to the end.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Great author

    I'm really coming to like chris b as a writer. This is the third novel of his I've read ( the double bind, and secret of eden) and they've all been great. A little suspense and mystery in each. I have two more on my nook i'll get to soon. Midwives was no disappointment.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2009

    Very Disappointing

    I picked this up on a whim but when I saw "Engrossing" on the cover, I figured it would be a good read. I realized it took me almost a month and a half to read this book...that's how boring I found the slow moving plot. Some paragraphs seemed endless and most seemed very unimportant. I wanted to find out if the jury agreed with me but was so univolved with the characters that I didn't really care one way or another. The plot, character depth and expansion was non-exsistent for me. I did not feel sympathetic to any of the characters even after 372 pgs with them and considering one was on trial for murder and the other was a teenage girl who could lose her mother, I think that speaks volumes.
    I am very disappointed that the author never fleshed out what could have been a very moving and touching story.
    All in all, I wanted to see the outcome but I was just not that involved with the characters.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    generic

    This book was not original. Although the topic is dramatic, I found the book to be lacking in any real depth. Perhaps because it is being told from the point of view of a young teen it seemed too generic. Had the story been told from the point of view of a woman who had given birth or even the midwife there may have been more emotional tension in the book. This book left me unsatisfied.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    engrossing...

    Midwives is an engrossing, well written story. It follows the trial of Sybil Danforth, a midwife accused of involuntary manslaughter, after one of her patients dies. The book is told from the perspective of Sybil's 14 year old daughter. The death in question occurs in Vermont in March amid an ice storm. Sybil and her patient are trapped at the house with no option of getting to a hospital when things turn bad. The patient dies and Sybil performs an (illegal) emergency C-section to save the baby. The baby lives but Sybil is accused of performing the C-section on a living woman, resulting in the woman's death. Midwives is a page turner where we see the main characters on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I couldn't wait to get to the end to see what the verdict was and how that verdict would effect the Danforth family and everyone else involved.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    soon to be midwife

    i selected this book to read from a book list given to me for my college reading class. i have plans to become a nurse midwife when i finish my schooling. i found this book exciting and heart wrenching at times it is a great read if for nothing elce to learn about how dramatic it can be for a child to enter this world and also to gain knowledge of the process of a criminal trial. i found this book hard to put down and when i was not reading i was going over the story line making my own conclusions and questions

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2005

    what is a midwife?

    I have just finished reading 'Midwives'.This book is very scary! I am a nurse midwife who trained in England in the early 70's. I came to America in 1977, went to live in New Hampshire and almost got involved with the lay midwives up there. I backed out as I was only too well aware of the risks of home deliveries, especially in an area where hospitals were few and far between. My only dissappointments with the book were that Mr.Bohjalian did not mention the meaning of the word 'midwife' which is 'with women', and I also did not like the words 'catching babies' - that infers a ball of some kind that is tossed into the air and has to be caught. Delivering a baby is a hands-on skill that assists the emergence of the baby.But it was a darned good read, and I am already looking for more books by the same author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2003

    Awesome

    Midwives was a great read. Not only was it superbly suspenseful, but I learned a great deal about midwifery and what happens in a courtroom. I also enjoyed the narrator, Connie. She observed what was going on around her with the eyes of an adolescent, but told the story with the heart and mind of a wise adult. Both of these perspectives made this book an awesome read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2002

    Why I didn't like this book

    Why I didn¿t like this book, David 16, March 13, 2002 I didn¿t really like this book because, it was very boring and it didn¿t keep me interested long. It seemed like it dragged on. It was very descriptive in parts and other parts it wasn¿t. I guess though I am a guy and things like this don¿t really interest me, but I also understand that this is part of life. It just did not grab my attention like some other books do.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Good read

    Something you don't see a lot. Loved the story and the. Characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Good Read.

    Too close for comfort. Can this happen now!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Excellent!

    For those of us who grew up in the "hippy generation," we can really relate to the setting and characters in this novel. Sometimes it is difficult to believe that the author is a man - the insights are so powerful! This is a story not to be forgotten!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    Fabulous book in the 14 year old girls first person

    I loved this book! The narrator is the daughter of a midwife accused of murder. Most of the book is written from her 13-14 year old point of view. It was written so well, had loads of forays into the future and back to the past. Good character development and enough details to set the scene, feel like you are there, but not too much to lose interest. I loved the characters and the family interactions in the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    Enjoyed!

    Read this book years ago after seeing it as an Oprah reading list book.

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