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)
This was a fun little read; however, I felt as though it was all accomplished with a kind of surface-y air... the reader becomes entrenched in the slums of England, but it appeared that Ms. Worth maintained her English sensibilities and didn't want to see "too depressing" so all anecdotes seemed to end up with a silly anecdote or Hollywood ending, apparently in an attempt to encourage the reader to "hang in there ole' chap."
I would have preferred to really be immersed in the culture- to not have a Mary Poppins view of this time and place (a tidy bed and midwife can soothe even the most depraved environment?), but rather understand that some days must have been demoralizing and disheartening.
Additionally, as a "memoir," Ms. Worth alluded to lost love, a scandalous past, and the crazy route that brought her to midwifery- however, the reader was only teased with these, and forced to "take her word for it." I would have gotten more for this read if I had a better understanding of what path her life had taken to leave her with such a sunny disposition in trying circumstances.
The reader did a GREAT job. I have not watched the PBS show of this novel, though could see the characters come to live thanks to Ms. Barbar's narration.
It probably wasn't the book's fault, but I realized after beginning that I didn't care nearly as much about repeated descriptions of childbirth as I expected to.
The narration was good; I'd like to listen to this narrator read a different book.
Not have any more kids!
If this period in history is really interesting to you, or childbirth an interesting topic, you'll probably like it.
I don't normally choose this kind of book to listen to, but I am so glad I took a chance on this book. I really enjoyed so many aspects of it. When I was a young girl, I read through all the James Harriot books and Call the Midwife was very reminiscent of those. The novel is a series of vignettes about some of the very interesting people that this midwife encounters in the course of her duties. Each story provides insight into the hardship, brutality, humanity, strength and joy that were among the many aspects of life in London's East end in the middle of the last century. Together, the stories also illustrate the progressive maturity and understanding that the midwife gains as she lives among the sisters, other nurses and the various families she works with. Some of the stories are heart wrenching, some amusing, some heartwarming - and some a bit of each. I found them all to be engaging. This was an easy book to listen to, but still managed to have depth and soul.
I particularly like the character development in the stories - I felt the author really conveyed a full picture of many of the characters. I also liked that she, more than once, told a story of misjudgment. It is so easy for all of us to judge people, and usually harshly or unfairly, just as she does. As she learns more about the life stories of the people she sometimes so hastily judges, she comes to understand and love them.
Like the seasons, I enjoyed each one, and was glad for all of them! I appreciated the way the author interwove humorous, light stories, like the boys coming to tea at the convent or Chummy learning to ride a bike, with the darker, and more serious stories dealing with the themes of separation, violence, unthinkable poverty and social constriction.
Several - some in the most wrenching way, as in the stories of Mrs. Jenkins and the story of Mary. But the story I cried over was Conchita's - I found that story to be so touching and miraculous.
The stories of the young midwife's adventures and the narration were both excellent.
The discovery of why the ordinary people loved the gruff midwife who always gave the midwives-in-training and the upper-class nuns such a hard time.
Her English accent!
It made my terribly sad and I did laugh, too!
The historical bits about the development in England were fascinating.
Call the Midwife is a collection of memories and stories of Jennifer Worth's experience as a midwife in 1950's London. The characters are delightful and approachable. The author does an amazing job of capturing the essence of the docks and the characters that inhabited them.
Nicola Barber is perhaps the most talented narrator I have heard on an audio book. Her voices and accents are spot on ranging from high English to Cockney to Irish to Spanish and more. This book was delightful to listen to and gave great insight into the history of midwifery and the way that London used to be.
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
This is an excellent book, with a strong and capable narrator in Nicola Barber. I am a big fan of the BBC series and was not expecting the book to be as good. In fact, I enjoyed the book even more. Stories that were quickly touched on in the series are given greater detail. You get a much stronger sense of the neighborhood and times in the East End of London, and how difficult it was for the families living in that area during that period of time.
I greatly enjoyed hearing the detail of Sister Monica Joan's life.
Nicola Barber does an excellent job of narration.
Choosing this book was not my usual "type" of read, but it was very enjoyable. The setting, London in the 1950's, was beautifully portrayed, and the narrator, Nicola Barber, did an excellent job of helping you see and feel the conditions under which the main character had to work. I'm assuming there is a sequel(s), and I will definitely look for it/them.
I cannot compare the print version, but I was riveted by the narration and story content.
Many of the chapters had me on the edge of my seat to see what would happen.
AMAZING!! Truly one of the best narrations I have listened to. She deserves an award for her ability to bring the story to life. Nicola did a great job with the accents and portraying the different characters.
I did not want this book to end. I could listen to the individual stories again and again.
A wonderful book. If you are a fan of the the television show, you will find this book a wonderful listen. Highly recommended!
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