Friday, October 9, 2009

Still not dead

Y'all, I have not been having a good few weeks, so please forgive the paucity of postings. But big hugs to everyone and hey! I am working on fixing the problems! This requires locking Warren Ellis in a keg full of ferrets and a fuse wire; this also offers possibilities for solving the world's energy problems.

To make up for it, a return to Desultory Reviews: The Midwife edition.

I picked up Jennifer Lee's Worth's (nee Lee) book about her experiences as a lay midwife working with a religious order in London's East End after the war on a whim. Turns out, it is not the kind of book that should be taken lightly. It should be used to whack, with great force, the heads and shoulders of people who say that women's history hasn't been hidden, because the book is chockful of social history in an area that's traditionally been considered, let's use the technical term, icky. Because girl parts! And while the book is autobiographical rather than designed to help the reader deliver a baby, the details—how rooms were prepped, what prenatal care involved (boiling urine! Mm!), and how preemies were cared for—are still engaging. Doubly so her description of her fellow midwives. Sister Monica Joan, who proves that half-senile monastics can out-Hybrid the best of BSG, steals the show. Big thumbs up.

There were two complaints worth airing: First, it's not clear that this was intended to be one of a trilogy, so the author's hints about her Forbeeden Luv get a bit wearing, especially when you realize on the final chapter that she's not going to tell you what the story was. And second, the extensive glossary on Cockney pronounciation and slang feels like Worth's hobbyhorse, something an editor should have gently pried out of the book. Less rhyming slang; more Sister Monica Joan!

1 comment:

ebourland said...

I love this desultory review. You should go into business writing them.