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
"A charming tale of deliveries and deliverance." (Kirkus Reviews)
Call the Midwife brings to life the squalid conditions and hardships many of the world's poor endure. Yet the joy and expectant anticipation of a new life transcends the dreary and impoverished environment. Each chapter tells a new tale while all the while weaving throughout the main characters, their love of their mission and their exceptional dedication to helping others. A fascinating look into life, death, joy and pain in the mid twentieth century in East End London.
I bought this because it was on special and it had some good ratings. I am so glad I did. It not only entertained me, but also humbled me as well. We take so much for granted now. Very few remember what our mothers and grandmothers went through. It was a much different time back then. Most women now have babies in a hospital, with lots of drugs and much less risk. Having given birth to all 4 of my children without the aid of painkillers/epidurals, I can relate to the pain they went through; though I am fully appreciative of the advances made. My last child was born almost 6 weeks early and I am not sure if he would have survived during the 1950s. You feel the lessons that these young women learn as you see them mature from idealistic zest, to humbleness and finally to absolute caring. I was especially glad to see that this book was made into a mini-series and is available on Netflix. It goes along very well with the book and was just as enjoyable.
I think I could relate to most of the ladies in different ways. It would be hard to narrow it down to just one character.
Honesty, her voice. It matches perfectly to the main character, Jenny Lee.
My favorite part would have to be with the couple who had been married for many years. He could only speak English and she could only speak Spanish. That was part of what made their marriage work for so long. They could only express their love in actions, without words getting in the way.
There were many times when a midwife learns a lesson on judging the mothers. It is easy for them to say "How could they" or "I would never", but very humbling when faced with the reality that life is not perfect and these women were doing the best they could with the circumstances they had.
Superb articulation, expression, pace and love for the story. One of the best readings I've experienced with audio books.
Not only is the answer 'yes', it's yes to more than one read.
Historical, and personable the narrative is wonderfully informative in an entertaining way. Not a story as much as a collection of remembrances.
The description of life in England in the 1950's with the history of the buildings and the way of life
she whispers when she narrates. Actual stories and character voices are great, but the voice that ties them together is the one I use reading a good night story to make a toddler drift off.
it would be a lousy film, no action all history
While I was interested in the historical aspects of the book, overall I found it to be a bit slow. The narrator sounds as if she is reading a Christmas story to a 5 year old - you can almost see her eyes getting big as she anxiously reads some of the EXCITING parts - well, you get the idea. I was glad when I finished.
For the most part this book is a very well written, family friendly narrative which reveals the lifestyle that existed in the 1950s in England and occasionally parts of Ireland, as seen through the eyes of a young Midwife. For the common folk conditions were hard, often deplorable. Sanitary facilities for the poor folk were almost nonexistent. About midway through the book a young girl was drawn into prostitution. The man who seduced her gave her the promise of a full stomach and compassionate companionship. Her initial contact with him encompassed her watching a full, to the point, striptease performance which left my spirit polluted. I kept listening because I expected the girl to leave the scene but she did not. Her story, which was otherwise not related in any way that was indecent or perverse, ended tragically. This young Midwife encountered all kinds of situations and had a very interesting and fulfilling career. I would have given the book 5 stars but the striptease scene really left me with dampened spirit. Also throughout the book the word a__ is used instead of buttocks. I contributed this to being part of the cultural language and not an obscenity.
The east side is teeming with joys and tragedies which we enter into through the lives of young midwives. Excellent writing and narration. Leaves you wanting more which can be had in the next two books.
This is a very interesting book, and the narration is fantastic. Nicola Barber really makes the characters come alive.
I enjoyed hearing about London during the 50s and what the medical technology was at that time. I also enjoyed learning about the nuns.
The book seemed more like a collection of stories rather than a cohesive memoir. I was expecting it to be a little bit more linear. It seemed that each chapter was a short story about her time as a midwife. It made the story seem a bit detached and choppy.
I enjoyed Nicola Barber's narration but sometimes she was difficult to hear. She had a soothing voice which was nice, but listening to it in the car made it difficult to hear everything she was saying.
I enjoyed hearing all of the stories about the high-risk births. It was interesting to hear how they used to deliver babies. I also enjoyed the chapters that went in depth about a mother and her family (e.g. Mary, Conchita, etc.).
This book was informative and entertaining. I would recommend it to anyone interested in midwifery in the 1950s or anyone with an interest in London in the 1950s.
I tend to shy away from books with women readers (even though I am a 70 year old female) only because most don't seem to have the versatility as the best of the male readers. That was before I listened to this book read by Nicola Barber. That is not to take anything away from the author because even the best reader cannot salvage a poorly written book. I am pushing my husband to listen to a book about a midwife! There can be no higher recommendation.
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