From lingering daylight to forecasts touting warmer weather, spring has not only sprung, but summer is soon upon us. May is the month many believe was termed for Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility, while the Roman poet Ovid insisted the fifth month was named for maiores, Latin for “elders.” Regardless of the true namesake, we’d like to recommend a book this month that commemorates both inspirations.
Memoirs, especially those authored by individuals willing to step out of their comfort zones, provide a unique opportunity to intimately engage with another time and place. Jennifer Worth’s “Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times” introduces us to London’s East End slums in the postwar era of the early 1950’s. Jennifer (Nurse Lee) graciously grants us passage into many of the trying, joyous and unforgettable moments during her tenure as a novice midwife working amongst the Sisters of St. Raymond Nonnatus.
“Now and then in life, love catches you unawares, illuminating the dark corners of your mind, and filling them with radiance. Once in a while, you are faced with a beauty and a joy that takes your soul, all unprepared, by assault.”
Teeming with charming characters (from both the convent and the families of the East End), adversity and purest joy, “The Midwife” should remind us that our greatest pains are often precursors to both our highest moments and wildest adventures.
*If you’re wondering whether the topic sounds familiar, the trilogy (presented as one book, combining all three individual books here) has been made into a television series on PBS called “Call the Midwife” which seems to be gaining more fans by the moment (myself included!). Prior to the PBS show, the book was titled “The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth Joy, and Hard Times” for those confused by seeing both titles.
“Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times”
Image via Becoming Roux