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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)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  8,865 Ratings  ·  806 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 two women who shared the same husband! Other stories cov ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Phoenix (first published 2009)
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Popular Answered Questions

Becky I would say yes. I read all three books completely out of order depending on when they came into the library and were available to check out.
Immen There's no reason for the numbers to add up at all! Fred's riddle is just tricking you into thinking they might be supposed to add up because they're…moreThere's no reason for the numbers to add up at all! Fred's riddle is just tricking you into thinking they might be supposed to add up because they're so close. But imagine that everything was actually half off that day, and the cashier gives the waiter back an entire 15 shillings, of which he returns 3. Now the customers have spent 27 shillings between them and the waiter has pocketed 12, which adds up to 39, which has NOTHING to do with there originally being 30 shillings.

If you want to know the whereabouts of the original 30 shillings, 15 of them are in the cash register, 12 of them are with the waiter, and 3 of them are returned to the customers. That's the part that has to add up.(less)

Community Reviews

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Diane
Blimey, this memoir was bleak.

Jennifer Worth's third book about her years serving as a midwife in London's East End in the 1950s was much darker than the first two. It was well-written and the stories were all compelling, but it covered some serious stuff, including babies who died during delivery, botched abortions, children killed by tuberculosis, a father who prostituted his daughter on a ship, and the Contagious Diseases Acts.

I need to pause here to explain how horrified I was to hear about
...more
Petra Eggs
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
Jun 14, 2013 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction, memoir
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
^
Dec 22, 2012 ^ rated it it was amazing
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
Eliza Crewe
Oct 09, 2015 Eliza Crewe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was definitely weaker than the first two, but that's to be expected, as it's an autobiography and I'm sure she already used all the best stories in the first two books. It didn't matter, however, I still found it fascinating.
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
Christi
Jan 31, 2014 Christi rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
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
Naomi Sarah
Aug 18, 2016 Naomi Sarah rated it really liked it
There were definitely things I could do without, but I must rate this four stars! There's just SOMETHING about these books... they are irresistable.
Anka Räubertochter
Von den drei Büchern der Reihe hat mir dieses wohl am wenigsten gefallen. Trotzdem hat es mir sehr gut gefallen und die letzten beiden Kapitel haben mir Tränen in die Augen getrieben. Es hat sich ein bisschen so angefühlt, als ob ich einen lebenslangen Freund verloren hätte.
Fazit: Ich kann diese Reihe nur empfehlen!
Negin
Aug 24, 2015 Negin rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this series all around. They’ve made me laugh and cry. I love them and hate that they have come to an end.
Diane S ☔
May 21, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
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
melissa1lbr
Feb 23, 2017 melissa1lbr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a review of all three books in her memoir series.

Things I Liked:
These stories are incredible! I wish I'd read the books before watching the series, but I was still blown away! It is absolutely amazing and awful and beautiful the kinds of conditions these women who were giving birth lived in. The midwives are incredible as well, but I read some of these stories and just felt almost embarrassed at how much I have and how whiny I can be about it. A wonderful look at a specific time and pl
...more
Carolyn
Oct 29, 2013 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jess
Mar 12, 2013 Jess rated it it was amazing
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
Rachel
Jul 19, 2011 Rachel rated it it was ok
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
Jamie Collins
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
Gigi
As always Worth's book does nothing but excel. I loved it, as I loved the previous 2 books. It had all of the characteristic charm and fun, while still having the stories that were sad and touching. I particularly loved the story about the "ships woman" as it led to Chummy meeting her future husband, while also revealing the dirty secrets of some ships. I also loved Meg and Mave and their constant raving about "crossed tubes" and other such crazy illnesses.
It was tied up quite well, giving a br
...more
ladywallingford
Jul 23, 2013 ladywallingford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
Freya
I've been a great fan of the BBC tv series which has picked bits of stories from each of Jennifer Worth's books. It is nice to be able to read more of her excellently described memories of midwifery in post-war East End London.

Also unlike the tv series which sends characters away and brings them back, Jennifer finishes off her friends' stories with what happened to each of them and where they were at he time of writing. There are both happy and sad endings, but it brings it all to a nice close.
Abby
Oct 17, 2015 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: would-read-again
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire Call the Midwife series. I'm a huge fan of the show and found that it captured the essence of Jennifer Worth's memoirs perfectly. It's pretty insane that all of these crazy stories are true. I especially love reading about Sister Monica Joan. She's quite the character herself with all the trouble she gets into.
Jackie
Feb 16, 2017 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed finding out the final memories of the people of Nonnatus House, and having some loose ends tied up. As with the other books, there are some heavy, despairing facts of life from the earlier days of our history. It's all very enlightening to how we've progressed in so many ways, yet regressed in others. For the most part, I wish the pbs special was a little more accurate with Jennier's accounts, but there are some stories that end so horrifically, I'm glad they didn't. Overall, a great t ...more
Caitlin
Jan 31, 2017 Caitlin rated it it was amazing
These books are the best. So full of history and heart.
rivka
Sep 25, 2013 rivka rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim B
May 16, 2015 Jim B rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
As I read Jennifer Worth's books, I am amazed at how well the PBS series "Call the Midwife" captured the characters in her books, from Sister Monica Joan to Cynthia, Trixy and Chummy." Some of the stories in the PBS series are found in this book.

Jennifer Worth captures an era and a little understood piece of London life, among the Cockney's of East End. In this book she tells how that life came to an end. As in the other books in the series, most chapters are self-contained stories, so the book
...more
Roos
Dec 24, 2016 Roos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik vond dit verreweg het beste deel van de serie. Na het lezen van deze boeken ben ik nog blijer dat ik in de huidige tijd ben geboren en leef.
Elizabeth
This is the final part of Jennifer Worth's midwife trilogy, recounting her years working as a midwife based in London's East End with the Nuns of the Order of St Raymond Nonnatus.

In this book she returns the focus to midwifery in the community, recounting not just her own experiences but those of her colleagues both at Nonnatus House and in an adjacent borough.

There are some very serious subjects covered here - the shame of illegitimacy, still prevalent in the 1950s, and which fed the illegal ab
...more
Alisa
Jul 17, 2016 Alisa rated it really liked it
With this, I have finished Jennifer Worth's three-part memoir of her time in the East End of London as a midwife. This final installment is just as delightful as the previous books. We learn more about Sister Monica Joan (gotta love her!); Chummy delivers a baby on a roiling ship; and Worth tells of the time of illegal abortion and its terrible consequences. Worth is especially good at balancing the humorous with the serious. As in her other books, the author gives not just a compassionate, but ...more
Carol Rogers
Mar 25, 2015 Carol Rogers rated it it was amazing
This book is the final book in the trilogy on which the television series was based. It tells the true story of some of the characters shown in the programme and what happened in their later lives. But the bulk of the book of course is based on the memoirs that took place in the 50s.

The depth of the stories to what life was like in the East End is an eye opener. TB was known as the White Plague and was truly horrific. The midwives were also nurses and worked with people in their homes with vario
...more
Sheila
Jun 20, 2016 Sheila rated it really liked it
Hard as it may be for people in our comparatively privileged place and time to read of the conditions described in the last of Jennifer Worth's memoirs on life in 1950's London, it is good that someone who saw it first hand, leaves us an honest and well written description. Some of the situations involving moral questions are shocking even to our current day sensibilities. The book describes a hideous backstreet abortionist, a "ship's woman", a girl in depths of poverty beyond belief as she give ...more
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  • The Life and Times of Call the Midwife: The Official Companion to Season One and Two
  • Yes Sister, No Sister: My Life as a Trainee Nurse in 1950s Yorkshire
  • Twelve Babies on a Bike: Diary of a Pupil Midwife
  • A Midwife's Story
  • Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife
  • The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle’s East End
  • Nurse On Call: The True Story of a 1950s District Nurse
  • Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart- A Midwife's Saga
  • The Midwife's Here! The Enchanting True Story of One of Britain's Longest Serving Midwives
  • Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey
  • Murder on the Home Front: A True Story of Morgues, Murderers, and Mysteries During the London Blitz
  • The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife's Memoir
  • Tales of a Midwife
  • When Invisible Children Sing
  • Twopence to Cross the Mersey
  • Private Battles: Our Intimate Diaries: How The War Almost Defeated Us
  • Outwitting the Gestapo
  • All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The Midwife Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times
  • Shadows of the Workhouse

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“But life is made of happiness and tragedy in equal proportions, and we will never change that.” 10 likes
“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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