J'ai lu ce témoignage d'un trait. Ecrit dans un anglais clair et accessible aux anglicistes français il rappelle souvent l'univers et le ton de certains romans de Dickens. Pour ceux qui ont connu la pauvreté dans les années 50 il leur montrera que la misère en Angleterre n'avait rien à envier à celle de nos quartiers défavorisés d'alors. La narratrice-auteur est, à travers son récit, une dame dont on aimerait faire la connaissance. Le dévouement de ces "petites Soeurs des Pauvres" et de celles qui travaillaiient avec elles est émouvant. Et dire que le Londres que l'on nous décrit ici est devenu, au bord de la Tamise, un repère de bobos !
Fan de la série BBC inspirée de ce livre, j'ai souhaité découvrir l'original. Celui-ci a dépassé mes attentes, il est encore mieux que la série, plus réaliste notamment, on apprend plein de choses sur Londres dans les années 1950 tout en passant un bon moment avec des personnages attachants.
Le livre est écrit à la première personne, c'est en fait un récit hautement autobiographique. Jennifer Worth a un véritable talent de conteuse: elle se remémore les faits de façon très vivante et pleine d'humour, sans détours inutiles. Elle a écrit le livre assez récemment, et elle met donc en perspective les années 1950 par rapport à ce que nous connaissons maintenant.
Très bon livre que j'ai eu envie de lire après la vision de la série Britannique sur D8! Bien m'en a pris q car le livre est un véritable témoignage non seulement sur l'abnégation de ces jeunes femmes, mais aussi sur L'East End de Londres dans les années 50 quand les docks étaient encore des lieux mal famés! Livre émouvant et plein d'humour à la fois! So British!
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
99 internautes sur 101 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
You won't regret picking this book up! It'll be hard to put down.4 mai 2009
Story Circle Book Reviews
- Publié sur Amazon.com
"Why did I ever start? Do I regret it?" Jennifer Worth asks herself in her memoir The Midwife. "Never, never, never. I wouldn't swap my job for anything on earth." Worth began her career as a midwife in the 1950s in the London Docklands.
The Docklands were poverty stricken, dirty, and recently bombed during World War II. People lived in condemned buildings among rats, grime, and violence. Worth worked out of a Nunnery, providing prenatal care, delivering babies in their homes, and checking up on the moms and babies afterward. It was a busy life with highly unpredictable hours.
One of the most memorable women in the book was Conchita Warren. Worth delivered two of her babies, numbers 24 and 25! The Warren family all lived together in a small London apartment. What was most remarkable--apart from the vast number of children--was the fact that Conchita spoke no English. Her soldier husband had met and married her in Spain and brought her home with him. "Quite suddenly, with blinding insight, the secret of their blissful marriage was revealed to me," Worth wrote. "She couldn't speak a word of English, and he couldn't speak a word of Spanish!"
Some readers may be turned off by the subject, fearing gore, blood, and other unpleasant things often associated with birth. But this is one book you don't want to judge by its cover. The Midwife is, more than anything, the story of an amazing woman in 1950s London and the people she met. I recommend this book to anyone interested in history, motivating stories, or who just wants a good read.
by Jennifer Melville for Story Circle Book Reviews reviewing books by, for, and about women
89 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Touching Tale13 juillet 2009
- Publié sur Amazon.com
When I first heard about the book THE MIDWIFE: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth, I just knew I wanted to read it. I have always been fascinated by the role of midwives in our history, and I thought the idea of the author living in a convent would be interesting. too While I was thinking that I'd probably like this book, I can definitely say that THE MIDWIFE far exceeded my expectations!
This is a major aside, but it might help explain my interest in the profession of midwifery. I think women who choose midwives for their birthing option have amazing experiences. However, I have to admit that I didn't choose to go that route -- mainly because I am a major chicken and wanted an epidural. (In fact, when I was admitted to the hospital to deliver my first daughter and was asked about my pain plan, I told them DRUGS - early and often.) I find it very ironic that my daughter was actually delivered by a midwife because the doctor never made it to the delivery room in time! My husband and I agreed that the woman who delivered my daughter was a very supportive and inspirational person who made my delivery extra-special.
Since THE MIDWIFE is a memoir, I was expecting it to be all about the author Jennifer Worth. I figured that this book would include information about how the author became a midwife -- the reason behind her decision as well as lots of information on her training, etc. However, much to my surprise, this book wasn't really all about Ms. Worth. Rather, the "memoir" was filled with amazing stories about the mothers (and others) that she encountered during her years as a midwife. In addition, I was surprise by how readable this book was -- there were so many touching stories as well as humorous ones that existed within the pages of this book.
I just loved reading this book and learning about all of her patients' birthing stories. I definitely gained a huge respect for the value of a midwife in the lives of these people who lived in London's East End in the 1950s; however, what I also found was how brave and strong all of these women were who lived back then. Often times, these women were living in squalid and crowded conditions with lots (and lots) of children; and their husbands were little, if any, help. In addition, birth control wasn't really an option for most of these women. The way they balanced their lives and their families is absolutely amazing; and I found THE MIDWIFE to be a very uplifting story about the power of women!
In addition to enjoying the stories about Ms. Worth's patients, I also really liked the parts of the book that took place in the convent. Because the author had worked as a nurse in the rigid environment of a hospital, she definitely appreciated the loving and caring nature of the nuns. I have no doubt that these nuns were just wonderful women with all the good they did for the families in London's East End. While I was touched by their actions, I also found myself laughing out load at the many hilarious stories about the women. I felt like these anecdotes about the women living in the convent were also very much a testament to the strength of women.
Another thing I really adored about this book was seeing how Ms. Worth grew not only as a midwife, but also as a person. I really liked her from the first pages of this book; however, my admiration for her just kept growing as I read this book. I truly believe that women that went into the midwife profession in the 1950s like Ms. Worth were a very special breed, but I loved how Ms. Worth matured through the years she lived in the convent. She began her story with a pretty apathetic view on religion; however, as she lived with these holy women and saw their faith, she began to think about her own beliefs. The book definitely doesn't hit you over the head with these messages (and maybe I was just looking for them), but I really appreciated how she ended this book.
Needless to say, I highly recommend THE MIDWIFE. I think anyone who is interested in midwifery or even medicine back in the 1950s would enjoy this book. In addition, I think women of all types will value the various stories about the amazing women she encountered.
98 internautes sur 106 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A rare treasure6 septembre 2008
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I picked up this book in the London airport on a whim: I was pregnant and it took place in London-- a perfect souvenir. I was immediately drawn into this young midwife's story of her experiences in the poor areas of London during the 1950s. Since she wrote her memoir years later, the insight of an older woman adds a deeper layer to the book that really makes it a treasure. I lent this to my mother upon returning from our trip and haven't seen it since-- it's one of those rare books that will be passed around until it's well worn.
32 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A Well-told Tale. Five Stars!27 août 2009
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Jennifer Worth's tale of her time as a midwife in the Docklands of London's East End in the 1950's reads more like a Dickensian novel from the 1850's. She explains that by the early 1960's, the East-ender Cockney culture and dockworker-dominated economy in this part of London came quietly to an end. This culture had sustained itself for more than 100 years with little change, highly insulated from outside influences.
"The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times" is more than a tale of delivering babies. It is a work of history and anthropology as well as a personal memoir. The chapter-by-chapter blend of all these elements is told by a woman with a keen eye to all that she saw and experienced. No detail escapes her sharp eye. Each chapter is a story unto itself. The chapters roll up to an epic tale.
Why did this culture end in the early 1960's? Worth offers up three reasons for this: loss of dockyard jobs; demolition of the tenements; and arrival of the pill resulting in much smaller family size.
Huge families were still the norm in the Docklands of the East End in the 1950's as they had been for many decades. Families typically lived in two or three-room tenements, some without running water and most without a bathroom. No one practiced birth control. Young people married young.
Many of the tenement blocks were built in the 1840's and 1850's. Those that survived World War II bombing had undergone little structural alteration in the years since. This type of living would support a modest working-class family that allowed a measure of dignity in an era still largely missing the social support systems and welfare in Britain today.
With rudimentary nursing skills, Worth affiliated with a church order that provided midwifery services to the women in families who embraced this culture. At the time, most working-class women still gave birth at home rather than in hospital. The midwives performed essential services to people who would otherwise have gone largely without. Most of their skills were learned by experience and mentoring not through academic or technical medical education.
Her tale is also about what life was like at the nunnery and why she enjoyed the lifestyle and companionship more than as a nurse in a hospital. As a bonus, at the end of the book there is a fascinating appendix on Cockney language terms and expressions, their derivation and use.
"The Midwife" is a well-told tale of a bygone era. Five Stars!
35 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The MIdwife5 juillet 2010
Belinda J. Caldwell
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I loved this book, I bought the whole series and recommend them to anyone interested in transporting yourself to another place and time. It certainly makes me glad for the time we live in now! The characters are real and the books makes you wish you had the chance to meet them.