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

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

4.3 148
by Jennifer Worth, Nicola Barber
     
 

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At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London’s East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London—from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can’t speak English to the…  See more details below

Overview


At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London’s East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London—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 and dockers of the city’s seedier side—illuminate a fascinating time in history. Beautifully written and utterly moving, Call the Midwife will touch the hearts of anyone who is, and everyone who has, a mother.

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

From the Publisher
“[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

“Narrator Nicola Barber . . . does an excellent job of portraying both seasoned and inexperienced midwives as well as the wide variety of British accents. Fans of the BBC series will enjoy this audiobook, as will anyone interested in the history of midwifery.”
Library Journal

Library Journal - Audio
This memoir, the inspiration for BBC's popular series of the same name, chronicles Worth's experiences as a midwife in London during the 1950s. The story, enhanced by amazingly vivid imagery, brings to life the horror of the living conditions in the slums of the London's Docklands, the sadness of mothers who have lost their babies, and the joy of first- or 24th-time mothers as they meet their children. Narrator Nicola Barber, winner of two Earphone Awards, does an excellent job of portraying both seasoned and inexperienced midwives as well as the wide variety of British accents. VERDICT Fans of the BBC series will enjoy this audiobook, as will anyone interested in the history of midwifery. [The Penguin hc was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Jessi Brown, Huntington City-Twp. P.L., IN

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611749243
Publisher:
HighBridge Company
Publication date:
08/28/2012
Series:
Call the Midwife Series, #1
Edition description:
Unabridged; 12 hours
Pages:
720
Sales rank:
661,525
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

NICOLA BARBER has appeared on stage in New York and across the country, including with Scarlett Johnansson in The Nanny Diaries. She holds a degree in theatre arts from UNC-Chapel Hill, and has taken classes at the London Academy of Dramatic Art. She has been training and performing voiceovers since 2001, and can be heard in video games, animation, commercials, and corporate videos, as well as on award-winning audiobooks.

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Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 147 reviews.
socksgirl More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a wonderful bio, highly recomend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
ignacio_4_bn More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book gives more depth to the series. I enjoyed it and look forward to the second and third bookz!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
manders204 More than 1 year ago
This was such a great book. This book opened my eyes to life in east London.
txbkwrm50 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book transports you to a time of simplicity and community awareness. The characters are thoughtfully described and you have stepped back into a different generation
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the "Call the Midwife" series. This book adds so much more to the story. As a postpartum nurse I love reading about childbirth in the 1950's but reading about English society at that time makes the story so much more interesting. Reading about living in the tennaments during that time and what life was like in East London during that time adds so much more to the story. If you like historical novels you will love this one.
UtahSnowy More than 1 year ago
The BBC/PBS series follows the book in most cases. Some of the episoids come from the other books in this series. It was delightful to read it in her own words. I wish she had written more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this memoir. It was certainly a rough read in places but it's also terribly engrossing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great book. I could identify with each character on some level.
Griperang72a More than 1 year ago
What did I think about the story: I really enjoyed this book. My daughter and I also watch this TV show on PBS and have enjoyed it. The author broke the stories up so that each chapter was a story which made the book very easy to read.  Although there were times I found myself wanting more of the story or more history of the nuns that she lived with. The author has so many stories to tell from her experiences as a midwife and let me tell you  that some of them are so strange that you may find yourself shaking your head. I will be getting the second book to read in the very near future.  What did I think of the cover: I have the version shown above and I like it because as I said before I am a fan of the TV show. The characters are well known to me now and I like how this covers shows many of them. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you saw t v first this may disappoint you
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it