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Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times | [Jennifer Worth]

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

At the age of 22, Jennifer Worth left her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in postwar London’s East End slums. The colorful characters she met while delivering babies all over London - from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lived to the woman with 24 children who couldn't speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city’s seedier side - illuminate a fascinating time in history.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Solo Narration - Female, 2013

At the age of 22, Jennifer Worth left her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in postwar London’s East End slums. The colorful characters she met while delivering babies all over London - from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lived to the woman with 24 children who couldn'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.

©2002 Jennifer Worth (P)2012 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"A charming tale of deliveries and deliverance." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1630 )
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  •  
    CasyK Canada, orig Essex, UK 08-30-13
    CasyK Canada, orig Essex, UK 08-30-13 Member Since 2009

    CasyK

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Come on in Luvie"

    An incredible glimpse, beautifully narrated for the audio, in to the Docklands of London not long after the end of World War II.

    Not only is this book a font of knowledge of the history of midwifery and general birth practices over the last 100 years but it is also a wonderful observational tales of life in one of the poorest parts of the East End and how people lived and survived cheek by jowl in appalling living conditions remaining cheerful and turning out a lot of children. Set before the days of the pill and the sexual revolution these people endured so much.

    This book is Jennifer Worth's story about her first days of Midwifery whilst living in the Convent and assisting the Nuns to look after the birthing needs of the local population. As such the stories are more vignettes but the thread of the same central characters knits the book together nicely. I learned things from this book I was not aware of and was horrified by others, I shed some tears and cheered at others, but the scales are always beautifully balanced with happier tales and constant reminders of the wonders of Human Spirit. As Jennifer matures and begins to understand this new life of hers the theme, we realise for this stoic breed of Londoner, is love. How to love, even when it is difficult, and this alone endures above all else.

    I can only add how my admiration of women has again increased for what they have endured and for helping us modern women to live under the standards we accept as normal.

    The BBC have made this into a most excellent series and it's well worth watching, however, I would read this first to get more insight of the true conditions as you will be even more appreciative of the programme.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    harringtonhound 08-27-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved this book! Great historical perspective."

    This was a delightful book. Well written. It covers the time in London's East End pretty much right after WWII. It provides an amazing historical perspective on medical history, particularly that of ob/gyn at a time that was not all that long ago, but seems like another world entirely. It also provides perspective on the lives of London's poor before the economy around the docks collapsed. Oh, and before the pill. It really was another world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaux 03-24-13
    Margaux 03-24-13 Member Since 2013

    Taking recommendations!

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    "I would listen to this book again!"
    Any additional comments?

    This book is mostly written about different people and stories she encounters, not much about her own personal story. I love midwife books and enjoyed this one greatly. She had a very british accent and at times a few words to understand, but I love the narrator otherwise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Fair Lawn, NJ, United States 02-25-13
    Richard Fair Lawn, NJ, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Fascinating insight into Cockney English"

    What started as an interesting, and very well narrated, story of the history and role of midwives evolved into a captivating insight into the life and culture of England's desperately poor in the mid 20th century. Despite a tendency to play for the "heartwarming", it was a fascinating look at recent history that was so different than what I'd expected

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 02-24-13
    Catherine LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 02-24-13 Member Since 2011

    I love to read!

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    "More! I NEED to read the other books she wrote!"

    Culture shock! I had no idea! What an eye opener! No other book like it. You will forget where you are!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Mona Chicago, IL, United States 02-09-13
    Mona Chicago, IL, United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Didnt want it to end!!!!"
    Would you listen to Call the Midwife again? Why?

    This is the kind of book that I can listen to a few times and enjoy it every time..


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Call the Midwife?

    Its happy its sad its a reality of how the world use to be for women.


    What does Nicola Barber bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narration was beutifully done.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheri 01-30-13
    Sheri 01-30-13
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    "a great glimpse into post wwii london!"
    Which character – as performed by Nicola Barber – was your favorite?

    I enjoyed Chummy. She is like "a goose in a new world"! The environment of Poplar and other neighborhoods is unlike any place she has been, and she adapts very easily and is loved by all.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes yes yes!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    leigh Ewa beach, HI, United States 01-05-13
    leigh Ewa beach, HI, United States 01-05-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Very educational"
    What did you love best about Call the Midwife?

    Loved the way the author painted such a vivid picture of the life and times of the characters


    Which character – as performed by Nicola Barber – was your favorite?

    I loved chummy, I have watched the tv series on PBS and loved the actress who played her. Although she does appear less in the book


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Compassion overcomes hardship


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sophie53 12-19-12
    Sophie53 12-19-12
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    "Fine listening"
    If you could sum up Call the Midwife in three words, what would they be?

    engaging, interesting, thought provoking


    What other book might you compare Call the Midwife to and why?

    none comes to mind


    Which character – as performed by Nicola Barber – was your favorite?

    Sister Monica Joan


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The Midwife


    Any additional comments?

    Will recommend this to friends

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rena Los Angeles, CA, United States 12-13-12
    Rena Los Angeles, CA, United States 12-13-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Beautiful History Lesson"
    What did you love best about Call the Midwife?

    The characters


    What other book might you compare Call the Midwife to and why?

    It's in a class by itself. I have never read anything like it. It does kind of remind me of the film "A League of Their Own"


    Have you listened to any of Nicola Barber’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not but I would like to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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