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

( 117 )

Overview

The highest-rated drama in BBC history, Call the Midwife will delight fans of Downton Abbey

Viewers everywhere have fallen in love with this candid look at post-war London. In the 1950s, twenty-two-year-old Jenny Lee leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in London's East End slums. While delivering babies all over the city, Jenny encounters a colorful cast of women—from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with ...

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

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Overview

The highest-rated drama in BBC history, Call the Midwife will delight fans of Downton Abbey

Viewers everywhere have fallen in love with this candid look at post-war London. In the 1950s, twenty-two-year-old Jenny Lee leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in London's East End slums. While delivering babies all over the city, Jenny encounters a colorful cast of women—from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English, to the prostitutes of the city's seedier side.
           
Based on Jennifer Worth's bestselling memoirs, Call the Midwife is the true story behind the beloved PBS series.

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Editorial Reviews

Literary Hoarders

“[Narrator] Barber is brilliant. She slips into every accent effortlessly, and her Cockney accent is particularly charming. She carries the weight of the stories with ease and affection, and embodies the characters beautifully. ”
Literary Hoarders

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143123255
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/29/2012
  • Series: Call the Midwife Series , #1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 22,910
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Worth trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. She then moved to London to train as a midwife. She later became a staff nurse at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, and then ward sister and sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in Euston. Music had always been her passion, and in 1973 Jennifer left nursing in order to study music intensively. She gained the Licentiate of the London College of Music in 1974 and was awarded a Fellowship ten years later. Jennifer married Philip Worth in 1963 and they lived together in Hertfordshire. Jennifer died in May 2011, leaving her husband, two daughters and three grandchildren.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 117 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(64)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 117 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2013

    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 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!

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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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 October 10, 2012

    A stunning read!

    Well worth reading and hopefully you'lll get more out of the PBS Series if you do. Chapter at the end on Cockney is fascinating

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Fabulous read

    Such a wonderful bio, highly recomend

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    The TV series but much more

    Tales of a British midwife in a poor, working class section of London in the 1950's. Very well written.

    I would highly recommend the book even if (maybe especially if) you have seen the TV series. To begin, you can appreciate what a wonderful job the series did capturing the characters and the spirit of the book. In addition, the book adds a lot of highly interesting sociological commentary that is just not found in the series.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    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, 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.

    3 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

    This book provided a lot of information on how people lived back then and how far we have come with our new technologies. Technologies that have helped save many lives. At times, I felt that I was reading a book for medical students because, although it's not meant, in any way, to be a medical reference book, it does explain a lot of things, of a medical nature, in great detail.

    Before reading this book I had no idea how undervalued the midwife was and how painstakingly hard it can be. From what I read, this kind of job can take a toll on you both physically and emotionally too.

    If nothing else, this book allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what a midwife went through in the past and how, once again, technology has changed so many things, for the better, today. Jennifer Worth has a great way of keeping the reader engaged. A must read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    excellent read!

    The book gives more depth to the series. I enjoyed it and look forward to the second and third bookz!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    More depth than the TV series. Buy more tissues.

    I loved the TV series so much that I had to buy this book. I enjoy reading about the daily lives of people throughout history, and this book describes women's health, public health, war recovery in London's East End and the manners and morals of the time. It is as beautiful as the show, with more exploration behind the characters' relationships and living conditions. And of course, there are all the births, which are as moving in the book as they are on the show.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Outstanding story of a Midwife in Post-WW2 east-end London

    Jenny starts her Midwife Job in 1950's east-end London rather naive. As her work & story progresses, she grows to see, the women she delivers babies for, as the true Heroes of her work. I found this author easy to read, & her story so interesting I had to keep reading! I highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    watch the series instead!!!

    Nothing to be gained here that wasn't better told through film; watch the PBS series instead! This is not my usual approach to literature; I always like the book more due to detail, and making my own imagination work, but this book was fairly sparse on detail and was much more enjoyable as a film. Sorry!!!

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    Loved it

    Such a great book. I could identify with each character on some level.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    Labor but no delivery

    This book teases but doesn't deliver on several issues: the decision to enter nursing as a career, the progession from novice to expert midwife and the transition from agnostic to believer. We have a hint that the author had an unhappy love affair as a very young woman and went into nursing. But she never discusses how she hit upon nursing as a career or why she went on for midwifery training. There are several birth stories but we don't get a sense of progression from novice to expert in midwifery. The information about the birthing process is accurate but might be puzzling to a non-medical person. Lastly the author starts her time in the convent as an agnostic but is touched by the example of the nuns who are training her. We get the sense that there may have been a spiritual change but we have no information about how this change affects her practice as a nurse. In general the book was well-written but ultimately unsatifying because there were so many stories that needed to be fleshed out.

    2 out of 2 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 November 27, 2012

    Recommended

    I loved this book. It gave such a human side to a time in our history that we know little about. If you like British history, this is a great read and will keep you wanting more chapters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2012

    Loved this memor

    This was such a great book. This book opened my eyes to life in east London.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2014

    empowered women!

    A fascinating read--these women accomplished so much with negligible resources...an empowering story and history!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Great books by Worth

    Read for the joy of learning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

    Fascinating

    Loved it. I watch the series and this book brought a fuller experience to the show. The stories are compelling. I was at the end before I knew it

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 117 Customer Reviews

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