Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Midwives by Chis Bohjalian (audio/abridged)

★★ 1/2
"Everything about [chance] scares the bejesus out of so many people; it's the this thing they try to avoid at all costs.

Eh, another so-so book by Chris Bohjalian.  I keep waiting to find another one of his books that I enjoyed as much as the The Sandcastle Girls, but it hasn't happened yet.  This is the last of his books that I've listened to on audio books - either at work or on my hourly commute each way.

This book focuses on the controversial issue of midwives in the early 1980s.  Sibyl Danforth has been a practicing midwive for years.  She has been a well-respected member of the community until a snowy night when a birth becomes dangerous.  Unable to take the mother to the hospital, Sibyl makes the rash decision to perform a Cesarean section on her patient after she appears to have died.  The baby is saved, but what happens next is a tremendous guilt mixed with a huge legal debate - did Sibyl make the right choice or was she the one who was responsible for the death of the mother.

The story is told from the point of view of Connie - Sibyl's fourteen-year-old daughter.  This gives readers a unique perspective of what her mother was going through during the trial and her emotions along the way.  She author brings up aspects of how doctors felt about midwives during the time period and the process of the legal system (I've somehow managed to read a lot of legal books lately...).  It was decent to read, but nothing that stood out too much for me.  I did read the abridged version though, so I might not have been getting all of the details of the story.  Midwifery proved to be an interesting debate and it would be interesting to look into how it is viewed differently today.

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