A year or so ago, I got into watching Call the Midwife on PBS. I really enjoy it. There are some themes that are more for grown ups but overall I’ve found it interesting.
I decided to read the books recently and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I think that the TV shows are very firmly based on the books and it’s one of the few that I would say either the book or the show is great.
Jennifer Worth has a fascinating writing style. The books give a look into a bit of life that I have no idea about…..a nurse in the 1950’s in the slums of the East End of London.
The books contain a lot of history and information along with charming characters. I really learned a lot and enjoyed a peek into a time and place that no longer exists as it did then.
I found myself laughing, crying, angry, and holding my breath at different parts of the story. This alone should tell you that her writing is very engaging.
So far, I’ve read all 3 of her books about midwifery in the East End and am now reading her book about the time she spent working as a ward sister at a hospital caring for people who were dying.
Some of the book is more informational and thoughts of a nurse that are less of a story and would probably interest medical professionals more but much of it is the stories of people and her view on death and her thoughts on how it has changed and what she doesn’t like about it.
As I was reading, I was thinking, “Why am I reading a book about dying!?” It’s not my favorite topic, but I’m finding it thought provoking and I’m enjoying the stories of the people she cared for.
Now, some thoughts to share with you.
1. These books are not for kids and probably not for teenagers. They are written for adults. They are not “bad” but they are not sanitized. She shares real stories, real people, real situations and as you can imagine working in the slums of London there was real life going on.
The things in the books are about birth and body functions and so you know there is mention of the aspect of life that give us children.
2. Jennifer Worth does not seem to write from a Christian perspective even though in one of them she mentions she was raised in the Church of England but didn’t believe. Her beliefs seem to have changed some and she talks more about faith in the book about dying. With this in mind, perhaps you won’t agree with her thoughts or you may not have included a particular story. However, they are still good books with a lot of history and I found them fascinating. These are definitely not anything you would read in Christian fiction! (ha!)
3. In the first book there IS a very shocking story. I mean VERY shocking. I bought this book for my pastor’s wife as a gift and then I bought it for myself and as I was reading and got to this VERY SHOCKING story, I thought, “oh no! I bought this for the pastor’s wife.” She and I talked about it. She said maybe she could have left the story out but that it was her life and what she dealt with and that’s what most of her books are…..just her real life. I said to my pastor’s wife that even though it was shocking, I couldn’t stop reading. She laughed and said “Well no way! I wasn’t going to just stop reading it!” The shocking story however, does add details about the client’s life and her choices and how she wanted to love her baby but wasn’t allowed to do so (and that’s all I’m going to say about this very shocking story…..)
4. Overall, I truly enjoyed these books and found them informative and enjoyable. I found out that Jennifer Worth probably passed away before her books became a TV series which actually made me sad!
So there you have my thoughts on Call The Midwife. Have you read them or watched the series?
Speaking of the series, I’m interested in how they’re going to keep this true to her books since it seems that the last season ended around the time her last midwife book ended. Perhaps it will go more into a fictionalized what could have happened series. Who knows!?