I loved the setting and the pace of the criminal trial proceedings I had read Civil Action before and it was far too mundanely tediously detailed and slow moving for me The court case in Midwives was a LOT better, and it would make a substantially better movie too.
The characters were great as well Their relationships with each other were interesting and realistic without being overdramatic Normally I don t appreciate a male author writing a story from a woman s perspective especially a subject that is this feminine but I think Chris Bohjalian did a fantastic job.
FABULOUS BOOK I would definitely recommend it Especially to mothers Just read it for the second time 2 10 for another book club It s still awesome DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG I have no idea how Chris Bohjalian wrote the voice of a 14 year old girl so well that it actually made me remember what it felt like to be 14 AND against my will, mind you I would do anything to never feel 14 again There are many other wonderful things about this book But it s enough to say read it because here is a man writing in the perfect 14 year old girl voice and that s some amazing motherfucking writing.
I ve had Midwives, Chris Bohjalian s fifth novel, on my to read list for quite a while, but I resisted reading it until now because of some personal baggage my only son was born, perfectly healthy, in a hospital but the labour was prolonged, resulting in life threatening complications that brought me back to the hospital in isolation for almost three weeks during which I was not even allowed to hold my own newborn child Midwives is a story about a pregnancy that goes wrong, but not in a hospital in a home The novel is mainly told through the eyes of Connie, the daughter of midwife Sibyl Danforth Each chapter begins with an entry from Sibyl s diary Connie s narration does require a degree of concentration from the reader Bohjalian takes us back and forward in time, from Connie telling the story as an adult, going back to when she was fourteen And because she was the point of view character, Connie had to overhear many, many conversations Once I had the narrator, and the author s narrative technique, firmly fixed in my mind, I was able to settle in to reading this compelling novel For years Sibyl enjoyed a thriving career as a catcher of babies And then, one cold winter night, after a difficult and lengthy labour, Sibyl realizes she needs to get the mother, Charlotte to the hospital But the phone lines are down, and Sibyl drives her car into a snow bank She returns to continue to assist in the birth, and then Charlotte collapses Believing Charlotte has had a stroke, Sibyl attempts CPR, and after some time, concludes that the mother has died but that there may still be time to save the baby She performs a caesarian section, and saves the baby, but did she kill Charlotte in the process Sibyl s inexperienced apprentice, Anne, and Charlotte s husband, Asa, later contend that she did that Charlotte was still alive before Sibyl performed the operation The coroner comes to the same conclusion, and Sibyl is charged with involuntary manslaughter The book is the story of the trial and the events leading up to it As I read this novel I was never bored and as I approached the end it became, for me, and of a nail biting page turner I found the trial and the complementary battle outside the courtroom medical community against midwifery very interesting reading Throughout the story Bohjalian casts doubt even as he leads the reader sometimes astray to certain assumptions For example, Charlotte hid her medical history from Sibyl Did this contribute to her prolonged labour and resulting collapse Then there s our discovery, before the end of the book, that Connie is now, as an adult, a certified OBGYN We must assume that this is because of her mother s experience Finally, we never really know what happened that night until the very end of the book Clearly that was Bohjalian s intention, and he pulled it off very well read Midwives with an open mind, and you ll form your own ideas about why and how Bohjalian decided to write this story He certainly did his research, and he makes us think the major issues surrounding midwifery and the dangers associated with any birth are presented without the author taking sides For myself, in the end, I feel I didn t so much read Midwives, as ingest it Looking back, I think that if I had had a certified midwife, along with a doctor, working with me during my pregnancy, things might well have turned out better Interestingly, Chris Bohjalian himself has been quoted as saying that in a heartbeat he and his wife would be comfortable having a baby at home, or using a nurse midwife at the hospital.
So the Washington Post Book World says that this will keep readers up late until the last page is turned I started the book this morning, and only had hopes that it d be as good as the last few books I ve read Didn t think I d do all 370 pages today LOLI guess depending on how you feel about Midwives and home births, you could view this book as an injustice upon Sibyl, or an injustice against the woman who died Personally, I feel that a woman has the choice as to whether she wants a home birth or a hospital birth It s her body, and if she wants the baby at home, fine But if there s a medical problem, then the hospital is the place to go But I understand that things happen I m getting worked up about this, and I know it s a work of fiction But I know women have been prosecuted and tortured for being Midwives It s an Oprah Book Club book, of course it s going to bring up opinions Don t a great deal of her choices do So yes A thought provoking book Well researched And I was surprised to see it was written by a man lol Midwives reminded me of a Lifetime or Hallmark film I found it kind of sappy to be honest, but it s an interesting concept with a good mystery.
I would like to preface my comments with a recommendation that if you are pregnant or are planning to have children sometime soon this would NOT be a good book choice Having said that, I thought this book was exceptional I was definitely drawn to this book, having delivered both of my children with a nurse midwife This story is told from the adult daughter s perspective regarding her mother s role a midwife during a home delivery gone bad As I noted in someone else s review, I had to stop a few times and remind myself that this was not a true story The author very realistically portrays the struggle of the lay midwife vs the nurse midwife physician I thought it was quite thought provoking and I could not put it down for the last 1 4 of the book It is not a light, fun read, but an incredible one nonetheless.
so the court drama begins Will her mothr be convicted of involuntary manslaughter or will the jury find her innocent All I can add was that it would ordinarilly have been a page turner for me, but I felt there was such a need to describe everything to the upteenth degree with this author s writing technique I found myself skipping sentences just to move on.
I wouldn t have got to the end if it wasn t for Liz s recommendation to finish She said that she had read it, didn t remember what it was all about, but that she remembered what she felt when she was done She was right, when I finally got the the end, I understood what she meant.
Safe to say, don t read the last page The premise of the book is that a very experienced lay not certified midwife has a messy delivery in a patient s home in which the mother ends up dying In order to save the baby when her efforts at CPR fail, she performs a cesarean on the mother The baby, incidently, does live because of her efforts However, her inexperienced assistant and the father of the baby both have their doubts about whether or not the mother was actually dead at the time of the incision, and the midwife goes to trial for manslaughter.
I liked the story and the relationships between the midwife s family and friends and lawyers as told by her teenaged daughter The author does a good job of creating suspense, and I did find myself drawn into it I really wanted to find out whether or not the mother would be convicted or not, and really, whether or not she killed her patient I won t spoil the end for you, but I will say I was surprised and sick when I read it.
Well, I finished my adult beverage I wanted to finish before writing this last review of 2012 of the last book I read in 2012 I also wanted to make sure I kissed my husband at midnight, so, I delayed this review I m going to give Midwives 4.
5 stars I initially was going to give this 4 stars, but the end kind of wowed me, and it deserved a half star Initially, I didn t know much about midwifery until I read Midwives, and there really is a lot to learn about it This read definitely gives you insight into the profession, and I thought it was very interesting.
The beginning was a little slow to me, but before I even got to the middle of the book, it became a lot interesting and had me hooked until the end I almost abandoned the book mainly because I became disinterested, but I read this with my friend Veronica, and she told me to keep at it because it gets better.
I really didn t know much about this story, or what happens, and I m so glad There were some things which really shocked me, as far as events go, and I think I developed a new appreciation for Midwives Honestly All things aside, Midwives is a great read It was worth my.
49 cent investment I really enjoy Bohjalian s writing, too It is clear, visual, and I felt like I could feel what the characters were feeling There were a few times as the reader, I had some bad feelings for the outcome, a few situations in the book, and I love when an author can do that I will definitely be checking out of Bohjalian s works Also, sorry if this is review is a little awkward, I don t want to give the story away, because this is one story I think would be definitely disappointing to be spoiled on, and I really am starting to dislike reviews which give you the entire novel summarized as a review Great book