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Book & TV series review: Call the midwife

Yes, I admit it. I went crazy with this show. I saw the first two seasons in less than a month while breastfeeding my toddler (very appropriate, I know). I cried my eyes out with some of their story lines while I cringed at others (Why do dramas force comic characters?).  After catching up with the last season, I couldn’t get my fix, so I downloaded the books. I loved them even more.

Call the Midwife is a memoir written by Jennifer Worth, a midwife in London during the 1950s. Her three books are beautifully written and provide the reader with a lot of information about 20th century London.  It’s also an account of the many improvements on woman’s medicine and rights.  I found them very educational. They made me think. They made me feel. They made me pose myself difficult questions about life. They made me read more about the history of workhouses and abortion.

I must warn you that you might lose sleep over some of her accounts. When she talked about her concerns about the black market of babies and children, my heart broke. How many lives have been lost this way! How many are still being trafficked and abused today…

As you can imagine most of the issues portrayed are relevant today, from war to interracial relationships, from poverty to women reproductive rights. It’s a good way to see how far we came and where we felt short.

If you like history, you will love these books. However, if you want to know more about the characters on the TV show you will be disappointed. The books are less drama and more to the point. Some of the stories on the show and books have different leading characters. I found this particularly frustrating.  I don’t understand why. I don’t want to go any further on this to avoid any spoilers.

The actors are excellent. Miranda Hart is out of this world on her portrayal of Nurse Noakes. The work of the Art, Custom and Design departments is excellent.

Despite adding more characters and story lines than Jennifer Worth’s memoir the show keeps her spirit alive.

I would recommend the books and series to young adults. It really resonates with today’s social issues.

A final word:  All chapters treat sensible subjects, so have your handkerchiefs near.

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