Written by Jennifer Worth, Farewell to the East Endis one of the trilogy of memoirs upon which the popular BBC series Call the Midwifeis based.
London's East End in the 1950s was a vibrant place-a close-knit community of families where children made playgrounds on bombsites and a lively social scene emerged. It was into this world that Jennifer Worth entered as a young midwife. Post-war life could be a struggle, but there was also warmth and humour. Farewell to the East End chronicles the lives, culture and stores of a bygone era.
©2010 Jennifer Worth (P)2010 Oakhill Publishing Ltd
"A sad farewell but a memorable and satisfying send-off." (Daily Express)
This is the third book in the trilogy by Jennifer Worth on her life as a midwife in the East End of London in the 1950's. After being hooked on the BBC adaptation of her first book, Call the Midwife, I have devoured what I can find of her writings, and she does not disappoint.
But I must emphasise that it is not a book for the faint-hearted! Most of the stories are sad, but she writes the accounts in such a way with humour sprinkled liberally throughout the book, that somehow you don't mind the sadness, and the characters you meet are filled to the brim with life, with all with the sweetness, brutality, stoicism, fortitude and love that comes with the desperately poor conditions Jennifer was working among. It is the stuff of real life.
Her writings on this period in history is an education as well in a time of English history that is not so glittering, and Worth deals with many of the social issues that are not so widely talked about such as back-street abortions, suicide, infanticide and prostitution - so it is not a 'light' read, but I enjoyed it because of the richness of characters and the interesting lives and stories weaved around those lives, and found myself many times with tears on my face, or laughing out loud.
I loved the ending because she gives a brief summary of the lives of the nurses she worked with and what happened to them. Chummy, Cynthia, Trixie, the Nuns and herself. There are no loose ends at the finish, and I find that very satisfying when you have come to love the main characters.
You will run the gamut of emotions in this brilliant book.
I have given this book a rating of five stars, it was my first Jennifer Worth and I simply can not wait to hear / read more after finishing Farewell To The East End. Very funny, emotional and completely captivating, brilliantly written, I was gripped throughout. This one is nice and easy to follow so good to listen to whilst doing other things like knitting or following a pattern, the characters are nicely portrayed so it was easy to connect with them and get a real sense of each persons story within this book. Really love the way each chapter develops, a good read, definitely recommended. The rarator: Saskia Butler, has done a fantastic job bringing the story to life, really like her voice which made for a very good experience listening to this one.
"Mediocre reader, fine story"
I struggled to finish this book. But it was entirely because of the reader. Stephanie Cole reads the abridged version of Call the Midwife so excellently which i listened to first, so that this reader just irritated me.
"I love this audio book!"
Just a really brilliant audio book about a subject I love. 5 Stars from me!
"Enjoyable, easy listening"
The author and narrator made the medical situations accessible and interesting. The book lacked consistency in parts and was more a series of anecdotes than a chronological story with character development, and there was no actual plot as a result. Having said that, in places I was laughing, in other places I was shocked, sickened and saddened. Overall, interesting and enjoyable.
"Enjoyed it with reservation"
As a midwife myself I much enjoyed listening to the minutiae of midwifery in the fifties. However, the mispronunciation of many of the obstetric/midwifery terms was irritating to say the least. On a few occasions I only realised what the word was because of the context. But despite this It was a jolly good listen.
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