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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

by

The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Emulating James Herriotaexcept with fewer cows and more cockneysaWorth sketches a warm, amiable portrait of hands-on medical practice.

The author became a midwife at age 22, learning her trade in the 1950s from the nun midwives at the convent of St. Raymund Nonnatus and working among impoverished women in the slums of the London Docklands. Her frank, sometimes graphic memoir describes scores of births, from near-catastrophes to Christmas miracles, and details her burgeoning understanding of the world and the people in it. Itas stocked with charming characters: loopy sister Monica Joan, the conventas near-mystic cake-gobbler and mischief-maker; Father Joseph Williamson, focused on delivering prostitutes rather than babies; handyman/poultry salesman/drain cleaner/toffee-apple pusher Frank; and posh Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne (aChummya), an outrageously warm-hearted debutante who devoted her life to midwifery and missionary work. Worth depicts the rich variety of life in the slums, where loving, doting mothers of nine rubbed elbows with neglectful, broken young women turning tricks to support their husbandsa night life. She draws back the veil usually placed over the process of birth, described here as both tribulation and triumph. In birth after birth, as women and midwives labored to bring babies into the world through hours of pain and occasional danger, Worth marveled at the mothersa almost-uniform embrace of their babies. aThere must be an inbuilt system of total forgetfulness in a woman, a she writes. aSome chemical or hormone that immediately enters the memory part of the brain after delivery, so that there is absolutely no recall of the agony that has gone before. If this were not so, no woman would ever have a second baby.a

A charming tale of deliveries and deliverance.

Review:

"Worth gained her midwife training in the 1950s among an Anglican order of nuns dedicated to ensuring safer childbirth for the poor living amid the Docklands slums on the East End of London. Her engaging memoir retraces those early years caring for the indigent and unfortunate during the pinched postwar era in London, when health care was nearly nonexistent, antibiotics brand-new, sanitary facilities rare, contraception unreliable and families with 13 or more children the norm. Working alongside the trained nurses and midwives of St. Raymund Nonnatus (a pseudonym she's given the place), Worth made frequent visits to the tenements that housed the dock workers and their families, often in the dead of night on her bicycle. Her well-polished anecdotes are teeming with character detail of some of the more memorable nurses she worked with, such as the six-foot-two Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne, called Chummy, who renounced her genteel upbringing to become a nurse, or the dotty old Sister Monica Joan, who fancied cakes immoderately. Patients included Molly, only 19 and already trapped in poverty and degradation with several children and an abusive husband; Mrs. Conchita Warren, who was delivering her 24th baby; or the birdlike vagrant, Mrs. Jenkins, whose children were taken away from her when she entered the workhouse." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

"The Midwife" tells the inspiring story of Jennifer Worth--a 22-year-old woman who leaves her comfortable home, moves into a convent, and becomes a midwife in post-war London's East End slums.

Synopsis:

The highest-rated drama in BBC history, Call the Midwife will delight fans of Downton Abbey

Viewers everywhere have fallen in love with this candid look at post-war London. In the 1950s, twenty-two-year-old Jenny Lee leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in London's East End slums. While delivering babies all over the city, Jenny encounters a colorful cast of women—from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English, to the prostitutes of the city's seedier side.

           

Based on Jennifer Worth's bestselling memoirs, Call the Midwife is the true story behind the beloved PBS series.

Synopsis:

An unforgettable true story, The Midwife is the basis for the hit PBS drama Call the Midwife

At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London-from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can'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, The Midwife will touch the hearts of anyone who is, and everyone who has, a mother.

 

Video

About the Author

Jennifer Worth trained as a nurse and then moved to London to become a midwife.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143116233
Author:
Worth, Jennifer
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Editor:
Coates, Terri
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Midwives
Subject:
Medical - Other Personnel
Subject:
Allied Health Services - General
Subject:
Pregnancy & Childbirth
Subject:
Worth, Jennifer
Subject:
Midwives - England - London
Subject:
Biography/Medical
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20090431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.90x5.20x.90 in. .60 lbs.
Age Level:
18-17

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Medical
Biography » Women
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Midwifery
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Midwifery and Breastfeeding
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Pregnancy and Birth
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Professional Medical Reference

The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143116233 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Worth gained her midwife training in the 1950s among an Anglican order of nuns dedicated to ensuring safer childbirth for the poor living amid the Docklands slums on the East End of London. Her engaging memoir retraces those early years caring for the indigent and unfortunate during the pinched postwar era in London, when health care was nearly nonexistent, antibiotics brand-new, sanitary facilities rare, contraception unreliable and families with 13 or more children the norm. Working alongside the trained nurses and midwives of St. Raymund Nonnatus (a pseudonym she's given the place), Worth made frequent visits to the tenements that housed the dock workers and their families, often in the dead of night on her bicycle. Her well-polished anecdotes are teeming with character detail of some of the more memorable nurses she worked with, such as the six-foot-two Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne, called Chummy, who renounced her genteel upbringing to become a nurse, or the dotty old Sister Monica Joan, who fancied cakes immoderately. Patients included Molly, only 19 and already trapped in poverty and degradation with several children and an abusive husband; Mrs. Conchita Warren, who was delivering her 24th baby; or the birdlike vagrant, Mrs. Jenkins, whose children were taken away from her when she entered the workhouse." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , "The Midwife" tells the inspiring story of Jennifer Worth--a 22-year-old woman who leaves her comfortable home, moves into a convent, and becomes a midwife in post-war London's East End slums.
"Synopsis" by ,
The highest-rated drama in BBC history, Call the Midwife will delight fans of Downton Abbey

Viewers everywhere have fallen in love with this candid look at post-war London. In the 1950s, twenty-two-year-old Jenny Lee leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in London's East End slums. While delivering babies all over the city, Jenny encounters a colorful cast of women—from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English, to the prostitutes of the city's seedier side.

           

Based on Jennifer Worth's bestselling memoirs, Call the Midwife is the true story behind the beloved PBS series.

"Synopsis" by ,
An unforgettable true story, The Midwife is the basis for the hit PBS drama Call the Midwife

At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London-from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can'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, The Midwife will touch the hearts of anyone who is, and everyone who has, a mother.

 

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