In the Midst of Life – a review

Jennifer Worth is well known by UK readers as the writer of Call the Midwife, a very well received memoir about her time as a midwife in the South East of England in the 50s. In the Midst of Life is the fourth book in her memoir series, and in a departure of the theme of the prior books based around her time as midwife this book instead focuses on her time as a nurse working in various end-of-life situations.


Now it’s my own stupid fault, but I hadn’t realised this wasn’t about her time in midwifery, so that was something I had to “get over” but as Worth’s writing is always beautiful this didn’t take long. I found the topics discussed in here incredibly interesting. They definitely made me think a lot more about my own death, the death of my parents and grandparents, and the end of life care that they will receive.

We often assume that doctors know best. And in many occasions, of course, they do. But there are aspects of their patients lives that they don’t know about. And nurses have much more of a window into this side of their patients lives. Two of my aunts are nurses, as well as some of my friends, and the work they do is demanding, in some cases demeaning and is never compensated to the level I think it should be. But in all cases I’ve seen, they spend a lot more time with the patient and know them a lot more intimately. This book will give you food for thought on whether the doctors approach or the nurses approach is best.

I’m definitely glad that I’ve read this book, as I know for a fact the pointers in it will stick with me for many years and I will use what I thought on here in moments of difficulty in my future (hopefully far into my future). Have you read this? Have you even heard of it? Let me know!