Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Review: Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

Title: Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse
Author: Jennifer Worth
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Personal Copy (ordered from England, reeked of smoke)
This book would be rated: PG

I was late to the Call the Midwife craze. I read the first book, then watched Season One and part of Season Two of the show, and then read the second book. I've always been a pregnancy and birth junkie, so I think that the first book held my attention really well because of the medical aspects of the stories. And then when I watched the show, I was surprised that there were all these extra side stories that weren't in the book. I assumed it was artistic license on the part of the filmmakers, but when I read the second book, here were all the stories about the old people of the East End. In Shadows of the Workhouse, Worth focuses on the East Enders who had grown up in workhouses, and how that legacy affected the community at large.

All in all, I find that the filmmakers got it right-- while the show is primarily about the midwives' obstetric roles, they also roll in the stories of the elderly people. The way that Worth separates the stories into "midwife book" and "workhouse book" feels a lot less satisfying to a reader, especially to a reader who really likes the birth stories.

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