Farewell to the East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives
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Farewell to the East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives (The Midwife Trilogy #3)

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  4,095 ratings  ·  465 reviews
This final book in Jennifer Worth's memories of her time as a midwife in London's East end brings her story full circle. As always there are heartbreaking stories such as the family devastated by tuberculosis and a ship's woman who 'serviced' the entire crew, as well as plenty of humour and warmth such as the tale of Megan'mave, two women who shared the same husband! Other...more
Paperback, 321 pages
Published 2009 by Phoenix
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Petra SockieX
This isn't like Jennifer Worth's first two books in the series, The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times and Shadows of the Workhouse. They were sweet memoirs of how hard it was in times gone by, but there were rays of sunshine, love and jollity to enliven the days. The books were fairly faithfully filmed as a sugar-candy feelgood somewhat addictive series.

This last book was filmed in very much the same manner but was not faithful to the book. It was quite a surprise to see that Wort...more
Gail
I have been thinking about what I want to say about this series. First of all, I have to give a caution to my friends who my want to read these books. They are not for the feint of heart! They are full of some very descriptive harsh realities of life, particularly for that time and place in history. I was once harshly criticized at a book group because I did not finish a book that was too brutal and ugly. The person who chose the book accused me of having my head in the sand. That book was ficti...more
^
Sep 04, 2014 ^ rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenagers, nurses, social workers, care workers
In this third book, Jennifer Worth largely reverts to the format of ‘daily’ life based around the life of the convent, and some of the more memorable, less straightforward, deliveries that she and her fellow midwives were called upon to perform. She doesn’t entirely abandon her portrayal of extreme social hardship, so graphically and vividly portrayed her second book, “Shadows of the Workhouse.’

It is that innate ability flowing forth, to communicate with such graphic, vivid, convincing, and comp...more
Ferdy
4.5 stars - Spoilers

Really enjoyed it. The stories were engrossing, the people were fascinating, and the 1950s East End setting was easy to imagine and immerse into.

Random Thoughts:

-I preferred the format of this one compared to the second book, there was a lot more focus on Jenny's experiences, her patients, and midwifery in general.

-I enjoyed getting to know more about Cynthia, she was a bit of a non-character in the earlier books… All that I knew about her was that she was nice and had a cal...more
Magda
As with the first book, The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times, I enjoyed most of the stories. I have a very different view of some of the issues brought up, and cannot agree with this:

"The Criminal Abortion Act 1803 was repealed in 1967. Knowing that I had been a midwife I was sometimes asked if I approved of it or not. My reply was that I did not regard it as a moral issue, but as a medical issue. A minority of women will always want an abortion. Therefore it must be done properly...more
Carolyn
In the Call the Midwife series it was hard to finish the 3rd and final book in the trilogy. I wanted to turn the page and still be able to read the next story. Each chapter was a mini-story; I easily wanted more.

But the 3rd book will bring back the crazy, unexpected births that you read about in the first book. Jennifer Lee saw some amazing things living in the poor, East End Docks of England right after World War II. From an utterly poor woman, with no clothes, or bed to her name, giving births...more
Rachel
The third and final book in the series by Jennifer Worth which takes you into London's East End in the 1950s when Jennifer worked there as a young midwife. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books; Call The Midwife and Shadows of the Workhouse and was eager to complete the series with this book.

Unfortunately I found this book not nearly as good as the first two. This book seemed to be simply an amalgamation of all the little stories that didn't make it into the first two books, resulting in it j...more
Melinda Elizabeth
I was rather disappointed that the latest season of "call the midwife" ended so soon, I had to read this book so I didn't feel too sad!
The best part for me was having it narrated in my mind by Vanessa Redgrave, made it really fun to read!
As always, Jennifer intersperses vignettes of her own experience at Nonnatus House with historical facts about life in the East End in the post war era. She has a fantastic narrative style, that makes reading her stories so enthralling. Even without the imager...more
Jess
I'm in love!!! Wow what a fantastic way to end the trilogy. One thing grab tissues if you watch the PBS show then tissues are a must. I fell in love with the show and was running to my kindle when I found out it was a book. I read it in a two day span devouring every page. I gave it as a gift to everyone I love and reads like me. Book two was ok not great dragged a bit but now I get why. It paved the way for the final installment. Each page made me either laugh, cry, laugh some more or it just w...more
rivka
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie
This is the last book in the trilogy which has been developed by the BBC into the television show “Call the Midwife”. This book more closely resembles the first one, with an emphasis on stories about the nurses and the nuns of Nonnatus House, who delivered thousands of babies in the slums of London’s East End in the 1950’s.

Although I enjoyed this series very much, I am a little uncomfortable with the author’s intimate narration of events which were outside her personal experience. Since this is...more
Dawn
Jul 21, 2010 Dawn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Social History
After reading this book I am so glad I was born in the 20th Century, at the end of an old social order which I just caught a faint whiff of as a child growing up in the 1960's.

Although the writing of the stories is somewhat anecdotal, the social history portrayed is very interesting and informative, and well researched. Subjects such as surgical rape, a "ship's woman", back-street abortions and the devastation TB can cause in a family, were things I knew nothing about.

Skilfully woven into seriou...more
Diane S.
Another entertaining and insightful book by Worth. Sociological issues are explored, babies are born and some die, and the nuns and midwives persevere. As a whole this was a wonderful series. I really got a feel for the East end of London in the forties and fifties, the poverty, the sickness and the strength of the sisters and the midwives. I am going to miss the antics of Sister Monica Joan, the coarseness of Sister Evangeline and the quiet wisdom of Sister Julienne. This series was such a perf...more
Cecilia
I loved this whole series. Not all the stories turn out as happy as in the TV series, but they are true and full of desperation, hope and a determination for the human character to survive.

Beautiful books about amazing woman, and a community.
Susan
Sobering parts regarding how women were treated (ie the contagious disease act) and infanticide. Heartbreaking reality for impoverished. Wonderful book though for as sad as those stories are there are others absolutely hilarious
Christi
I mistakenly read this one before Shadows of the Workhouse! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is obviously in the same vein as Call the Midwife. People who love the BBC series should know, however, that not all the stories in the memoir end up as resolved and happy as depicted in the series (which I love). Even some of the disturbing stories are more disturbing when you read them! However, though the essays on the "ship's woman" and back-street abortion are emotionally trying to read, I feel...more
Deborah
While I liked the memoirs by Jennifer Worth (3 books in all- Farewell to the East End being #3, Shadows of the Workhouse #2 and Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times #1). I like the PBS TV series even better. Still, the show is so faithful to the memoirs (it only alters a few of the stories, and not too much. Riveting true-life experience which evokes post WWII London in a near-crystalline clear manner. I love that the nuns, nurses, maidens, whores,teachers and mothers who pop...more
ladywallingford
After watching the first season of Call the Midwife on Netflix, I very much wanted to read Jennifer Worth's memoirs upon which the show is based. They did not disappoint although I will say that bits of it are rough reading. Some of the situations that the midwives of Nonnatus House came upon were just absolutely horrific and stomach churning. With that in mind, I highly recommend this as a read, especially if you are interested in the period/subject.

This is the third installment so if you are a...more
Melanie
This book is not nearly as cohesive as Call the Midwife or Shadows of the Workhouse, but it still has Worth's warm and funny insight. For fans of the tv show, it includes the stories of the twin sisters married to one man, the sea captain's daughter aboard the ship, and a botched illegal abortion, amidst other odd stories of life in the poor areas of London. The best thing about it is finding out how Chummy, Trixie, Cynthia, and the Sisters lived the rest of their lives. Cynthia and Jenny remain...more
Lynette
This last book in the "Call the Midwife"trilogy was a lot more enjoyable. "Shadows of the Workhouse"told heart-wrenching stories of abuse, neglect, poverty, and death. though it also told of love too, I had to keep a box of Kleenex ready while reading it. This book told more stories of the midwives'clients and daily life at the convent, and though there were some sad bits, it definitely wasn't as poignant. I'm sure I figured out the riddle mentioned in the beginning, but the author never did tel...more
Charity
I’ve spent the last few days voraciously reading this series, and now that I’m at the end I can conclude that the original is the best one. The second book contains funny and heartfelt stories, and this third continues on those tales to their completion, but lacks the glue that held together the first volume – namely, it was as much a spiritual journey as anything else. Jennifer Worth cemented most of the first book’s individual stories together with collective, shared thoughts that detailed her...more
Lyn
Jennifer Lee Worth's series of well stitched together essays about her days in the East End of London in the 1950's have read like letters from a friend about shared friends. The producers of the BBC TV series based on the books did a marvelous job of selecting a cast & writing the scripts to give a faithful rendition of the books!
This last book finished out the rest of the lives of 'our' cast of characters that could only be touched upon in the series. Chummy found her metier with the lovi...more
Kelly
I enjoyed this last book in the trilogy. The stories are fascinating- even though these chapters didn't seem to be as connected, chronologically speaking, as the ones in the previous books. The chapters on Tuberculosis were very informative. I didn't know much about Tuberculosis or its history before reading. I read some of that section to my husband, and he mentioned that he thought the clean-shaven aesthetic came into fashion at around the same time as the push to educate the public about the...more
Sue
Much better than the second, but not as good as the first. I enjoyed the shorter, more varied stories, and, fittingly, this one brings the story to a close and ends with the closing of Nonnatus House. I was surprised how much that hurt. . . the good sisters brought good care to people otherwise forgotten. The stories are dated, and often nothing more than a bit of social history, but perhaps a reminder of how bad things can be is not a bad thing for us all right now?
Megan Highfill
The third book in the "The Midwife" trilogy (known on television as "Call the Midwife") is very similar to the first in the series. Worth is back to her traditional writing style, short chapters which are mostly stories (though some stories span 2-3 chapters) and a jumbled handling of time. The third book felt like it had a bit more of a flow, though, and I appreciated that it had a settled beginning and ending, even if the middle was a bit muddled in terms of where Worth was in telling her stor...more
Erin Patel
Love these books by Jennifer Worth. This one was one of the best as it wraps up her time at Nonnatus house (a convent which provides widwifery services to the poorest of the poor in the east end London). Such horrifying and beautifully written stories. Makes me feel very lucky to be living in a time when I can give life to my beautiful girls without worrying how I will feed them or if they will fit into our bomb site one bedroom apartment.
Laurie
This is the third and final book in a series of memoirs by a midwife in the 1950s. Jennifer Lee worked in one of the poorest sections of London administering care and delivering babies in homes. Lee worked with a group of Anglican nuns dedicated to serving the poor. I found her natural story telling interesting and engaging. Although at times hard to read because of the nature of the subject matter. I would recommend this series!
Lyn
Farewell to the East End is the third and final `Midwife' book by Jennifer Worth. She has excelled herself again with stories of the East End of London, their inhabitants, their births and deaths as well as the tales of her colleagues especially the Nuns. Fans of Sister Monica Joan will not be disappointed.
Worth tells us many stories of differing outcomes which are based around the characters living in and around the docks. In the case of Worth's colleague `Chummy' wanting to become a missionary...more
Kathy Cooley
This book is my favorite of the three in the series. I got the feeling that Jennifer Worth grew into her writing as the series progressed, and by the time this book came along, she was very comfortable both with her audience as well as telling her stories. I liked becoming better acquainted with some of the denizens of Nonnatus House. I highly recommend the entire series.
Maria Kramer
This last volume of Jennifer Worth's autobiographical trilogy fills in some of the gaps in the story so far -- but not all. We finally find out about how Chummy gets hitched - go Chummy! My favorite character on page and screen. Sadly, we don't find out about the star-crossed romance Jennifer kept alluding to in volume one, so I'll just have to imagine it.

This book is very similar to the other two - no surprise there - so if you liked them, you'll like it too. One similarity that you may not li...more
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Worth, born Jennifer Lee while her parents were on holiday in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was raised in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. After leaving school at the age of 14, she learned shorthand and typing and became the secretary to the head of Dr Challoner's Grammar School. She then trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and moved to London to receive training to become a midwife.

L...more
More about Jennifer Worth...
Call The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times Shadows of the Workhouse Call the Midwife Boxed Set: Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, Farewell to the East End In the Midst of Life Tales from a Midwife

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“In the Russian Orthodox Church there is the concept of the Holy Fool. It means someone who is a fool to the ways of the world, but wise to the ways of God. I think that Ted, from the moment he saw the baby, knew that he could not possibly be the father. ...Perhaps he saw in that moment that if he so much as questioned the baby's fatherhood, it would mean humiliation for the child and might jeopardize his entire future. ...Perhaps he understood that he could not reasonably expect an independent and energetic spirit like Winnie to find him sexually exciting and fulfilling.

...And so he decided upon the most unexpected, and yet the simplest course of all. He chose to be such a Fool that he couldn't see the obvious.”
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