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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 (1252 )
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Performance
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  •  
    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 USA 12-19-12
    Sophie53 USA 12-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    3
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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
  •  
    N. Turchin Hampton, VA United States 10-15-12
    N. Turchin Hampton, VA United States 10-15-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Terrible narration"
    Where does Call the Midwife rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The book is lost in the terrible narration--every sentence is read with such surprise and awe that it's impossible not to be irritated.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cortney Washington, DC, United States 01-25-14
    Cortney Washington, DC, United States 01-25-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Very moving"
    Would you listen to Call the Midwife again? Why?

    Yes!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I really enjoy the BBC series of the same name, so I thought I'd try out the book. What a great choice!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Yes! The author goes into more detail than the TV series can. Sometimes it's about what she sees in her work (so the gross stuff) and sometimes it's about her own spiritual development. All around, it adds to the whole story.


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

    Nothing. The narrator does a great job with all the various British accents. (I presume... I'm American.) But it's easy to differentiate between characters and know who is talking.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CAM Florida, USA 01-07-14
    CAM Florida, USA 01-07-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Amazing."

    Call the Midwife, the series, was recommended to me by several friends and is still sitting in my Netflix list unwatched - lack of time - but I did have time to listen to an audiobook while doing other things. I listened to this without bringing any baggage from watching the series first. It's a lovely book, beautifully written, full of characters and details of a life almost unimaginable from the 21st century. A 22 year old girl riding a bike through a bad neighborhood down by the docks in the dead of night to deliver a baby in a tiny, sometimes squalid flat with only cold running water? How did those nurses do it, and how did anyone survive? And the sisters in the convent - so tough, strong, and fearless, and with fascinating histories of their own, all described with such skill and humor, I wished I'd known them. It's a wonderful listen, rich with characters and detail, and a fabulous reader.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Midwest Lady Indiana 09-10-13
    Midwest Lady Indiana 09-10-13 Member Since 2010

    Reader. Painter. Newspaper columnist. Nurse. Humane Society. Lake life. Walker. Happily remarried - was a widow.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Show? Book? Yes!"

    Maybe because I'm a nurse, but this is so accurate and what a good historical snapshot of how it is to enter someone's home, provide intimate care and then move on to the next home, having touched the lives of everyone and that includes yourself.

    Good slice of life. Some things no one can fix. Some things can be improved. Some miracles occur, on a daily basis. Health care, whether then or now, is dealing with humanity at it's best and worst.

    If you like medical stories and good stories in general, you'll enjoy it. Every bit as good as the TV show.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Edwards New York USA 07-17-13
    D. Edwards New York USA 07-17-13 Member Since 2012

    Bookworm

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    "As heart warming as the series + with more detail"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would because once you get used to the slightly annoying narrator with her rather strange pronunciation of certain words, this is a great book with a lot of heartwarming stories and much to offer the listener. I really felt I learned some things from this book, not least that there are some good nuns out there and that today's women have much to be thankful for!


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

    I particularly enjoyed the stores involving mix raced children and the father's reactions to them.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Not overacted and over pronounced anything that was vaguely foreign plus checked the correct pronunciation for a number of a basic words before reading. I felt she over did the clipped English tones somewhat, overall she could have toned down the acting a bit.


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

    Yes


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Worm San Francisco, CA 06-15-13
    Book Worm San Francisco, CA 06-15-13 Member Since 2012

    I love yoga. I love cooking healthy, organic, natural, delicious food. I love reading, writing, traveling. But more than anything, I love laughing and cuddling with my Michael and our pup.

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    "Loved it!"

    The Midwife is an intriguing glimpse into midwifery in 1950's London through the lens of a young woman recounting her most memorable experiences. It doesn't boast a rising plot or highly developed list of characters- it's written much more colloquially.

    As an American, I don’t often come across books written from the English perspective after WWII, and I appreciated the small intricacies that clued me into the social climate of time. I also enjoyed the undertone of spirituality which developed naturally and without overt implications.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha A. Murray New Orleans LA 06-15-13
    Martha A. Murray New Orleans LA 06-15-13
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    "Hey Lovie, Characters Abound"

    In 1950's London we are witness the birth of a modern midwife unit. The unflappable midwives are immersed in a culture of colorful characters including the nuns who sponsor them.

    We get to see the Londoners who are trying to survive their ever decaying neighborhood. Most live in tenement conditions that are appalling. With "coffee houses" springing up everywhere, the hood has deteriorated to red light district. Still the holdouts try and make the best of a bad situation.

    The book is done with integrity and realism. Their clients for the most part are the grit of the area. They are portrayed in kind gentle sense not a condescending way. The author brings each character to life as they bring forth the next generation.

    The nuns are more colorful than the ladies who are pregnant. It is a rare look into their lives. Their stories add an extra depth to the book.

    Nicola Barber is spot on in her narrating. Her Cockney is perfect. I hate narrators who are reading a book and can't get the accents right. But she has the ear for London slang. I would read anything she narrates.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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