I recently became hooked on the BBC Show, Call the Midwife, and if you’re a British TV junkie like me, chances are, you like it too. I was enthralled from the start, mostly because my beloved Laura Thyme (seriously? Can’t we get Rosemary Boxer a cameo in here somewhere?) was the waspish and intimidating Sister Evangelina.
But the other delights of the series kept me watching and deciding that I should read the memoirs.
This first collection is also a great delight, particularly because Ms. Worth’s writerly voice is honest, clear, and frank. Told in episodic fashion, this collection focuses on Ms. Worth’s first year as a midwife at Nonnatus House (name changed, obviously) in East End London. She describes the different occupational hazards, the deliveries, and the relationships between the women working together. There’s the story of Conchita on her 25th pregnancy, Mary the young Irish girl conned into prostitution, and the baby surprisingly born of a different ethnic origin than his father. Ms. Worth provides character and spirit, without glossing over any of the vagaries that came with hard living, nor does she falsely create happy endings for these people.
I’m completely smitten with the book, and I can’t wait to finish the trilogy (likely this summer!). It’s easily one of the most engaging memoirs I’ve ever read–and seriously, if this doesn’t make a serious plea for Why We Need Birth Control, I don’t know what will…
You can also read this review on my personal blog, The Universe Disturbed.