I watched a few episodes of the BBC show Call the Midwife but I just couldn’t get into it, but I was intrigued by the story, so I ordered the audiobook from the library. The TV show is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth (nee Lee), and details her time as a midwife in 1960s in the East End of London. While listening, I kept forgetting Call the Midwife took place in the 60s. The lack of toilets and proper hygiene detailed throughout the memoir seemed more like the 1920s or 30s to me. It really opened my eyes to the kind of poverty people experienced not that long ago (and unfortunately, I’m sure people are experiencing something similar today).
While I appreciated the respect paid to the nuns of Nonnatus House, I did not anticipate the religious tilt of the memoir, especially towards the end. Throughout my time listening I found I enjoyed the stories of midwifery more than Worth’s accounts of her personal life during that time. Although I do really wonder about the identity of this mysterious man she loved so deeply. Perhaps I will have to read the other two in the series…
One quick note about the narrator of the audiobook. While I loved Nicola Barber’s Cockney accent, her regular reading began to grate on my ears. It sounded like she was in a constant whisper and I kept thinking, “doesn’t talking like this make her throat hurt?” I remember thinking the same thing when I listened to Lauren Willig’s The Ashford Affair.