Call the Midwife

I've been a big fan of the series Call the Midwife since around the time I was still watching Downton Abbey and I'm more or less still watching Call the Midwife, so that's what you should know about me.

I've been reading this on my somewhat inconveniently sized Kindle phone app, and now an actual Kindle, for about a year because damn that was ill-planning on my part. I really liked the book, even if it felt like a review of the TV show I'm already a big fan of. However, one of the larger issues is that you really have to be in the right mood for it. I loved this book, it's really, really good. But I understand that not everyone will be up to the emotional steamroller you'd be in for. I mean it, you really have to be in the right mood for it. Don't be fooled by those sweet looking children on the cover. Though, do let me put a finer point on it. I don't know if many men will be, ahem, man enough for this book as I know of a few fine fellows who have hidden in another part of the house when their wives had the show on.

I don't know how I should elaborate this. Well, you expect certain things to come up in a memoir about a midwife. But sometimes we might forget just how bad medical practices were in the 1950's - or at the very least, the extent of how bad they were (curious about more of that? Check out the Sawbones podcast). And that's for people who could afford it. Add to that the fact that most of the patents were extremely poor, living conditions were appalling, and hygiene was probably the 5th to last thing on everyone's minds. A good nurse can only do so much. Maybe part of the reason I found this book so icky is that I instinctively know that I could never, ever, ever, ever, ever do a nurses' job. We all have our talents and I would be so utterly ill-suited for it; I would never consider it. (I owe this to my lack of feeling for human life and less about my morbid curiosity for bodily function)
What really puts your heart through the wringer is how much poverty these people suffered. And I mean poverty of all kinds, not just financial. The people who were just poor money-wise were the happiest, as you see pretty often. She interacted with some real characters, from the patients themselves, to the nuns she lived and worked with (despite the fact that she wasn't Catholic or even religious at all), to the other nurses.
There are actually 3 volumes in this series of memoirs, which is pretty unusual in the world of memoirs. This is obviously the first, and I might eventually go on to read the other two, but I have no idea when because... Christ. Emphasis on you really have to be in the right mood. If ever you're in just too good of a mood and need to bring it down a notch, these books will probably be waiting for you.

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