Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Birth House

I finished reading "The Birth House" by Ami McKay over a month ago now but didn't get the chance to blog about it, but please don't take that as a sign that the book wasn't very good.  Quite the opposite in fact, since "The Birth House" has been on my mind almost daily, it hasn't really seemed like a month since I read it.

Set during World War I, this book recounts the life of a girl who learns the skill of midwifery during a time when doctors preferred for women to be unconscious during birth - 'for the good of the mother and child.'  Living in an extremely small town on the coast of Nova Scotia, Dora opens her home as 'The Birth House' a place for women to come to prepare for imminent birth, labor and then recover with her newborn without the hassles of caring for other small children, a husband and a home.  Dora encounters many challenges along the way, not the least of which is being diagnosed with hysteria and being treated for it as was customary at that time - by a doctor on an operating table. 

I really enjoyed this book.  I feel like it gave me a flavor of what it was like to be a woman in a small Maritime village at a time when women were really just coming into their own.  Looks like another win for "Heather's Pick" at Chapters!

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