Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End
This is the third memoir from Jennifer Worth about being a midwife to the working poor of London’s East End in the 1950s. There is a popular PBS television series based off of the books. Jennifer is in her early 20s and, along with a handful of other girls, she is training to be a midwife in the Nonnatus House, which is run by an order of nuns. The memoirs in the series detail the poverty and heartbreak the midwives witness as the service the slums of London, but there are also great stories detailing the other young women working out of Nonnatus House, as well as the nuns that reside there.
I thought the first book of the series, The Midwife, was fantastic. I immediately read the second on and found it just ok. It paled in comparison to the first book so much that I waited three years to read book #3. Farewell to the East End is book #3 in this series. I have to say, once again I was left a little disappointed. It’s a good book with some really great stories. Chummy delivering the baby on the ship at the end is one of the gems of this book. However, there were a lot of chapters that seemed to be fillers. Almost like the third book was a contractual obligation so Worth was struggling to fill it with anything she could think of.
So while I liked Farewell to the East End, it wasn’t as good as the first book. There are some other books published by Jennifer Worth that I have considered that are in the same vein. Letters to the Midwives is a compilation of letters that Jennifer Worth received after publishing The Midwife that caught my interest. I think Worth has run out of stories from her time in the Nonnatus house, but stories sent to her by other midwives could be fun. Worth has also published a memoir about her time as a nurse and ward sister called In the Midst of Life. While I likely won’t ever get around to watching the PBS series, I may read her other books at some point.
Have you read any of Jennifer Worth’s books or seen Call the Midwife on PBS?