Midwives Author:Chris Bohjalian "Superbly crafted and astonishingly powerful. . . . It will thrill readers who cherish their worn copies of To Kill A Mockingbird." --People — With a suspense, lyricism, and moral complexity that recall To Kill a Mockingbird and Presumed Innocent, this compulsively readable novel explores what happens when a woman who has devoted herself to usher... more »ing life into the world finds herself charged with responsibility in a patient's tragic death.
The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby's life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if--as Sibyl's assistant later charges--the patient wasn't already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?
As recounted by Sibyl's precocious fourteen-year-old daughter, Connie, the ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt except for the fact that all its participants are acting from the highest motives--and the defendant increasingly appears to be guilty. As Sibyl Danforth faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.« less
The tale of a midwife put on trial when she loses a mother during child birth. It's told from the perspective of her daughter looking back (she was a teenager at the time) and from the diaries of the midwife.
It's intense and thought provoking. The author does an excellent job of presenting all sides of the ordeal. You see it from the perspective of the midwife, the daughter, the widower, the midwife's apprentice, the lawyers, the medical establishment, and the midwife community. You are kept in suspense until the very end. An excellent book!
i've waited a long time to read this book as i am a nurse and know what tragedies can happen in home care. this book is this author's best effort, in my opinion. the story of a vermont midwife who on a regular delivery of a baby everything goes terribly wrong. this book floows the family,the friends,the society and the trial to it's conclusion. a very good read!
Sibyl Danforth is a midwife. She is very good at her profession. One stormy night, she is attending to the birth of Charlotte Bedford. Charlotte's husband, Pastor Asa Bedford and Sibyl's apprentice, Anne, are in attendance. Things start going wrong and Sibyl has always had a history of getting someone to a hospital if things turn that way.
Unfortunately, the weather prevents her from getting Charlotte to a hospital. Sibyl performs a surgery that she has never done before and her life then becomes a complete mess.
We are taken through all of the turmoil that Sibyl and her family experience after this happens. Her daughter takes us through the trial and after.
This was well-written and had you wondering throughout the story about what was actually the case.
Another great book from one of my favorite authors. Midwifery has been something that fascinates me long before I read this book. The possibility of something going wrong is so overwhelming in such a delicate situation. This book captures the event as well as the process the people involved go through following this tragedy.
I am a Labor and Delivery nurse and also a nursing professor in that area of expertise. I always approach books on the subject with a little nervousness. Does the writer have a good grasp of the facts? Does the writer have an agenda? This book was a real page turner for me. I was really shocked by how accurate most of his medical descriptions were. I was also very pleased that the book remained a story about the people involved and didn't turn into an indictment of midwifery. I have since read more of his work and have noticed that his journalism roots seem to draw him to a theme that may be controversial or worthy of some in-depth reporting and then he instead does a book about real people dealing with that theme on a human level. I highly recommend the book and the author.
This was my forst Chris Bohjalian book, and it left me wanting to read more of his books. Midwives is very well-written, and well-researched. It almost had a Jodi Picoult feel to it, with the twist at the end. I like how two points of view are used to tell the story - the 14 year old daughter of the midwife is the narrator, and the midwife's journal entries at the beginning of each chapter also provide bits and pieces, bringing the story together.
I think that Bohjalian does a great job of showing both sides of midwifery - the supporters and the non-supporters.
Overall, this is a great read and I look foraward to reading more of this author.
Most of the members of my book club loved this courtroom drama about a midwife who questions whether or not her actions caused the death of a woman during the delivery of her child, from the viewpoint of her teenage daughter. Well-written, I found the book lacking in suspense, but interesting nonetheless.
I am still undecided about my feelings for this book. I read it quickly, but that was more from my desire to finish it and move on to something else rather than any compelling need to see what happened in the end.
For starters, I found the author's message confusing. Is he for home birth, or against it? Is he intentionally stereotyping the home birthing community, or trying to show solidarity with them? There was so much conflict in his approach and conclusion that I am still unsure what the true "take home message" was really supposed to be.
I was also not impressed with the characters or the character development. Bohjalian's main character is a 12-year-old girl, but the story is told as a flashback from that girl as an adult. Perhaps the author had to run the story through too many filters, but I never really felt like that the main character every really found her voice. Sadly, the majority of the remaining characters were very flat and forgettable as well.
One positive of this book is its ability to generate lively discussions regarding the opinions of home birth vs hospital birth. Outside of that, there is not much in this book that I found worth recommending.