A memoir by a district nurse and midwife in the East End of London in the 1950s, Jennifer Worth tells her story to give a voice to a profession rarely heard from at the time. From the ridiculous, the hilarious, and even the depressing. Her stories range from funny to heartfelt and everything in between. This isn’t a story that follows a linear series of events, but stories that stood out to Worth as she gave everything she had to help the citizens of one of the poorest areas of London.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
This is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. As a mother, there were definitely some stories that were difficult to read. Children in some of the poorest conditions imaginable at the time, abusive parents, little schooling. It’s hard to read about these hard situations, especially when children are involved, but Worth also has uplifting stories.
I especially remember a story she told about a woman who already had more than 20 children when she gave birth to a premature baby. The child must’ve weighed a bit more than one pound at birth, and Worth strongly encouraged her to let the child go to the hospital for treatment. But the woman declined and said she would keep her son at home. Worth watched as the mother kept her son in a baby wrap and nursed him until he grew strong enough.
Worth compared a mother’s instinct to that of modern technology. How we may think that modern technology gives premature babies a fighting chance to live, but we can’t forget that a mother’s love and instinct shouldn’t be overlooked. I don’t think it’s meant to spark a debate, but Worth’s words are something to consider.
She has many stories of the many babies she caught while working as a midwife, but the stories of her co-workers are always funny and uplifting. She, as well as a few other girls, work with nuns as nurses and midwives. Worth may not be a nun, but she lives closely with them. She stereotypes them at first as being strict and no fun at all, but they surprise her.
The sisters are a quirky bunch, each with her own strengths to serve the community. They’re a kind group of women whose only goal in life is to be a light to the community as healthcare workers. Overall, I would highly recommend this to a busy mom. There are parts that might be hard to read, but it’s so worth it. Jennifer Worth’s stories and writing are fantastic. You won’t want to pass up this book.
Five out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, you might also like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing Call the Midwife, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.