Review: Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950’s by Jennifer Worth

Call The Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950’s by Jennifer Worth
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2002
340 Pages

An unforgettable story of the joy of motherhood, the bravery of a community, and the hope of one extraordinary woman

At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London’s East End slums. The colourful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London-from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can’t speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city’s seedier side-illuminate a fascinating time in history. Beautifully written and utterly moving, Call The Midwife will touch the hearts of anyone who is, and everyone who has, a mother.


I’m not usually a big lover of Non-Fiction and prefer to read about fictional characters, places and adventures. However, as I am a big fan of the TV Series of Call the Midwife I thought it was about time I read the book it was based on. After picking the book up for a bargain price at The Works, I dived right into it and I was automatically astounded. 

The story follows the real life of Jennifer Worth, who at 22 leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in the East End of London at the start of the 1950’s. We follow Jennifer as she meets people from many walks of life; including the kind hearted nuns who she learns to love, the women she delivers babies for and the prostitutes, showcasing a seedier side to the city. 

What I loved about this book was how real it was, at times I thought I was actually there with Jennifer, as she delivered newborns and learnt about the hardship some mothers went through to start a family. Also, as a young woman, I was finding it hard to believe how different things were in them times. Nowadays women can give birth in clean and safe conditions. In the 1950’s things weren’t so easy. 

Another thing about Call The Midwife is that it is a very emotional read, and I found myself experiencing all sorts of emotions whilst reading. One minute I’d be laughing, the next I’d be crying and I even felt anger in one or two chapters. The main reason I think I felt this was because of the character descriptions. I loved reading about the Nuns of Nonnatus house, and I especially loved Sister Monica Joan and Sister Evangelina, I found myself laughing out loud when reading about their little arguments and tiffs. On the other hand, during one part of the book, where Jenny was helping a teenager who had fallen into prostitution I started tearing up. I honestly felt so sorry for her, and just felt like I wanted to help, despite it happening over sixty years ago. 

If you love the TV Series, you will most certainly love the book! It will honestly make you wish you had lived during that time – it definitely made me wish that. Call The Midwife is an outstanding book, and I cannot wait to read the others that Jennifer Worth has written.




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