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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

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  •  
    Mama Bethany Washington State 09-05-14
    Mama Bethany Washington State 09-05-14 Member Since 2014

    Mama Bethany

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    5
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    "Great material, but the reader was a bit breathy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it's so interesting


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

    Christy by Catherine Marshall because it is the story of a young woman working with disadvantaged people and meeting and learning from both her mentors and the people she went to serve. She grows and comes to a deeper understanding of faith and humanity.


    Any additional comments?

    My only issue is that Nicola Barber's voice is soft and kind of breathy. If I was in a place with any background noise (and especially walking outside) I could hardly hear and had to turn the volume way up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Chippewa Falls, WI, United States 09-03-14
    Kathy Chippewa Falls, WI, United States 09-03-14

    This is the only way to get through all the books I want to enjoy...and still I'm behind!

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    "More details than Public TV version"
    What made the experience of listening to Call the Midwife the most enjoyable?

    The fact that is was so well detailed and documented. I realise that on Public Television one cannot portray ALL that was in the book as much of it was too graphic and perhaps too unsavory. I found it not only amazingly historical-we'd all heard of workhouses from "Oliver Twist" but who knew they were turned into hospitals which is why people didn't want to go to them.
    Thank heavens there were some liberal, caring people who entered into the Midwifery profession be they nuns or lay people. They certainly knew their patients intimately and then could much more be able to care for them.


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

    All Creatures Great and Small, only because it takes place in a part of England that gets intimate with it's readers and explains how/why what happened at the time-that isn't so very long ago, relatively speaking. It's a life style not everyone experiences.


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

    Her tone of voice with the characters although some whispery thoughts were a little hard to hear.

    Ms. Barber's accents for each character was perfect so the reader knew without thinking who the person was.

    I particularly thought the cockney accent was superb-perfect for the characters and setting all the way to the strong aristocratic accent of Chumley.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I think finally the story of the old woman who wanted to know about everyone's newborn baby. She did seem an unsavory character, but slowly and surely her whole extremely sad story was told.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is worth hearing not only because the narrator puts a voice to each character and situation, but it brings to life the appalling situations of women in a time when having babies was usually done in homes with only women in attendance and the women being family. So many joyful stories of love but balanced with the very sad ones of lives being tragically led due to circumstances beyond control.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane W. Sublett 09-01-14

    Madame Readalot

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    4
    4
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    "Worth and Barber: A Winner Every Time"
    Would you listen to Call the Midwife again? Why?

    I would likely not read, a.k.a. listen to, Call the Midwife again, because I know there will be more to come. I watch the PBS show and love the midwives and all the nuns. I listen to these books when walking my dogs and find myself in the 50s in East End.


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

    Because Jennifer Worth is "looking back" I can't really compare her memoir to any other book because she has invented a world of Nonartis House and the characters who inhabit it to tell her real story. It is endearing and her anecdotal stories are enlightening because I know she lived them.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are so many good stories in this book but one of my favorite scenes was Sister Monica Joan and the cake. Jennifer was newly arrived at the convent and the scene was comical.


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

    A film HAS been made of this book, if you count TV, so who am I to name Call the Midwife something other than Call the Midwife. I love that the stories continue and would not want to see these stories become a movie.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to several books read by Nicola Barber and love the many voices she portrays. She's wonderful and so versatile. I'd buy and listen to anything she narrates.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-29-14
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    "Better than the TV series"
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the Midwives series on Netflix so I decided to give the audible version a try. It was great! Much more detail than the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsay Denver, CO, United States 08-13-14
    Lindsay Denver, CO, United States 08-13-14
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    "Wonderful memoir"
    What made the experience of listening to Call the Midwife the most enjoyable?

    The narrator. Her voice was wonderful. Her accent was lovely, and the sound of her voice and narration was really enjoyable to listen to. The stories were really fascinating too.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked that the author gave us a peak into a lifestyle I had no idea even existed. The stories were a great look into these lives that never really get much recognition. What was my favorite aspect of these stories was how the author was so foreign to this lifestyle, but as she got to know the people better, she started to really appreciate them and see them for who they really are.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It's really difficult to pick one. Perhaps the story about Conchita and her premature delivery. It is fascinating to hear the details about this complicated delivery and how the mother cared for this premature baby. What was also very interesting was to hear about how much care for preemies has changed since these times.


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

    While I didn't listen to it in one sitting, I looked forward to listening to it each time. Since it is broken into short stories, it was one that was conducive for listening to in intervals.


    Any additional comments?

    If you've watched the show, and you enjoyed it at all, then give this book a go. What I really enjoyed is that the book goes much more into detail about the characters and their backstories. You get to learn more about these women they treat and how they have come to live these lives. It was really fascinating. You learn that people are often products of their situations, and sometimes people have to go through a lot more than we can even imagine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilary 08-07-14
    Hilary 08-07-14 Member Since 2009
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    "The James Herriot of East End midwifery."
    Where does Call the Midwife rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    An absolute revelation to me, all of it. The history of the East End and of midwifery in England. The stories about the workhouses were harrowing. And all of it told with great good humor and humility. The characterizations are delightful and the vignettes often profound. So much better than the television adaptation, which was tidied up and made much more conventional and far less affecting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mom of 8 08-02-14
    Mom of 8 08-02-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Excellent!! But not for my children"
    What made the experience of listening to Call the Midwife the most enjoyable?

    This was a wonderful performance of a wonderful book. I cannot say enough positive about the reader--she was so very enjoyable to listen to. I also loved the book. However, I had intended to let my teenagers listen to it, but I am glad I listened first. It is definitely not appropriate for youth, especially the part that very explicitly describes horrible prostitution performances and acts. That part was very X rated and I am surprised it was included in this book.
    But overall it was a great book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sheerheart 08-01-14
    sheerheart 08-01-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Better than the TV Series"
    Would you listen to Call the Midwife again? Why?

    Most likely. I absolutely love listening to Nicola Barber!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It would have to be Jenny Lee. I love the unexpected theme realized at the end by her character about faith. She struggled with the same things that young women of today still have trouble with, even if this was 60 years ago!


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

    Chummy


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

    Due to the length, I don't think that would be possible. But I thoroughly enjoyed listening to each separate story.


    Any additional comments?

    If you read this first before watching the TV series, you will be disappointed that in the first episode it is about Conchita's last birth. That kind of put a bad taste in my mouth with that. But it still is a good show.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    margie 07-16-14
    margie 07-16-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Informative"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Call the Midwife to be better than the print version?

    I watched this series on television so it was easy for me to picture the charcatures. It was informative of the time period and I learned somethings I would have never imagined, as in Doctors being trained by mid-wifes on how to birth babies.


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

    She made the people come to life.


    Any additional comments?

    Not the best book I've listened to all year, but it was very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 07-02-14
    Barbara 07-02-14

    A Bookworm. Interested in all sorts of good books.

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    "First class"
    What made the experience of listening to Call the Midwife the most enjoyable?

    Very well written and interesting story. I found the memoirs very heartwarming and humorous in places.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sister Monica. The nun was a character literally.


    What about Nicola Barber’s performance did you like?

    She was a clear and pleasant voice


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

    I did, but it is longer than I would want to sit and listen to at one time.


    Any additional comments?

    The whole series is well done

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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