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In the Midst of Life [Paperback]

Jennifer Worth
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

18 Aug 2011

Jennifer Worth's bestselling memoirs of her time as a midwife have inspired and moved readers of all ages.

Now, in IN THE MIDST OF LIFE she documents her experiences as a nurse and ward sister, treating patients who were nearing the end of their lives. Interspersed with these stories from Jennifer's post-midwife career are the histories of her patients, from the family divided by a decision nobody could bear to make, to the mother who comes to her son's adopted country and joins his family without being able to speak a word of English.

IN THE MIDST OF LIFE also gives moving insights not just into Jennifer's life and career, but also of a period of time which seems very different to today's, fast-paced world.

Frequently Bought Together

In the Midst of Life + Farewell To The East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives (Call The Midwife) + Shadows Of The Workhouse: The Drama Of Life In Postwar London (Call The Midwife)
Price For All Three: 21.73

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (18 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753827522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753827529
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer Worth was a nurse, midwife, ward sister and night sister from 1953 until 1973, working mainly in London. Music had always been her passion, and in 1973 she left nursing in order to study music intensively, teaching piano and singing for about twenty-five years. All Jennifer's books have been bestsellers and Call the Midwife is now a major BBC TV adaptation.

Product Description


'Few readers will fail to be moved by her stories, which are artfully used to examine some of the genuine societal dilemmas death presents, and to point up the ill effects that flow from the mixture of embarassment, denial and avoidance with which we surround it.' TLS 'This is a taboo subject and makes absolutely gripping reading because it is one that, whether we like it or not, is going to matter enormously to each and every one of us.' GOOD BOOK GUIDE

Book Description

The last collection of true-life nursing stories from the No.1 bestselling author of the CALL THE MIDWIFE series, soon to be a major BBC TV series.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
102 of 102 people found the following review helpful
By Mike
This courageous book should be read widely, especially by the medical profession and those who are elderly or have elderly relatives. Jennifer Worth takes the subject of dying, and examines it with examples from her own acquaintance and in all its manifestations--bad deaths, good deaths, and resucitation. Dying is something we all have to go through, but in the UK it is a subject that is rarely discussed. The 'normal' English death and funeral are tightlipped and sober. Elsewhere. for example, Ireland and the Carribean, the wake and funeral are a real celebration of a life, with friends and relations, old and young, attending. Adults and children thereby understand that the dead person whom they loved was somebody of significance whose life should be cherished. The second topic Mrs Worth examines is the resucitation of people who have had strokes, accidents or are simply dying of old age, again a question that has not been debated adequately in the UK. Whoever you are, and however old or ill or severely incapacitated you are, a medical team if it is called, will attempt to resucitate you. If it can't, this is seen as a failure. This often results in people continuing to live in a very poor state, and Mrs Worth questions whether such interventions are justified in all cases and clearly answers 'no'. Mrs Worth has done us all a service by raising and examining these issues. The book is not difficult or macabre but, on the contrary inspiring, and the personal examples interesting. As usual, her style is personal and direct, and it is very easy to empathise with those whose cases are being described. A 5* recommendation.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking but difficult read 24 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read the previous three books and loved them, and so wanted to "complete" the set.
Beautifully written in a very natural way, which is what makes Ms Worth such a lovely author.
Found the stories facinating and heart-breaking, was a very hard book to read having lost my mum very suddenly last year, and at times I wondered why I was putting myself through it as was finding it quite upsetting at times, but as with all her books you have to go on. I've gone onto a fluffy girly book to recover, but on reflection it makes me sad because I would have loved to have been with my mum at the end, calmly and peacefully as described in the book, sending her on her way. But it's wasnt to be and that cant be changed. I think more people are realising that going back to a more old fashioned end at home without all the medical intervention is what most of us want & need, and thanks to the angels from Marie Curie and other organisations, this is possible for some. None of us can really decide our end of life any more that what happens in it, it's as random as a toss of a coin. And accepting that is something I'm coming to terms with.
Always sad to come across an author like this and read their books after they have died, you would love more but there really is no chance, and as with all her books this is the kind of book you want to find other people who have read it and have a good chat about it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dangerous subject bravely discussed 5 Mar 2011
In The Midst of life is thought-provoking and readable, even at bedtime. My husband thought it very strange that I, normally so squeamish, kept the light on an extra ten minutes so I could finish reading about Mr Waters as he drowned in his own gurgling bubbling lungs !

Jennifer doesn't pull any punches with her graphic and factual descriptions of medical conditions and procedures. However, her writing is so engaging that the stories and characters always rise above the gruesome detail. She always elevates and celebrates the human. This makes the book very sad in places, for as much as she loves and cares for the people in the stories, she cannot prevent the distress and indignity that many of them suffer as they near the end.

The book makes us think about death as part of life and to accept it rather than fight it. I was slightly miffed when I got to the last few pages and read that Jennifer thinks that fear of death is caused by a lack of faith. I regard myself as an atheist. I don't think of death as a returning to God, but neither do I think of it as a mere decaying of flesh and bones. I think of death as part of the natural cycle of birth, death and regeneration.

This last paragraph is not a criticism, in fact it is the opposite. The fact That Jennifer promotes such thinking and discussion is a high commendation. I would also like to commend the beautiful poems of Philip Worth and David Hart, they add so much to the book and I read them again and again.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous read. 28 Dec 2010
This was a thought provoking book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It came into my life at a very significant juncture when my own mother was suffering and dying and it helped me to put her suffering in perspective. I have recommended this book to several of my friends.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a hard book to read but I am so glad I did 18 Feb 2011
By suet
This was not an easy book to read. I work with dementia patients. My Mother is 92 and 2 years into this awful disease. How wonderful our medical services are but have we gone too far? Do we have a choice about resuscitation/invasive medical procedures? I was in A&E yet again with my Mother, having been ambulated in after another TIA and I was frowned upon as I reminded the senior nurse that my Mother had chosen not to be resuscitated. "You will have to see the doctor about that!" We have now asked the Care Home NOT to have her admitted if she is not in pain or fallen & broken anything, but "they have to cover themselves because of litigation"!! I have seen so many die a far worse lingering death after 'medical intervention' in later life. I am not saying there are any easy answers but why as a society do we not talk about Death and ask the questions? This should be one of the books read by every medical student, doctor, Care Manager,and many more! In the end, reading this book has made me even more LIVE and appreciate the LIFE I have left and LIVE every day to the full, and wear a pendant - NO RESUSCITATION PLEASE!
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