by Chris Bohjalian
Connie, the daughter of a midwife, tells the story of her mother\’s murder trial. During a difficult delivery on a freezing winter night in an isolated farmhouse, Sibyl made a desperate decision to save the baby\’s life, when she thought the mother had died of a sudden stroke. But what if she\’d been wrong? Through Connie\’s eyes we see Sibyl struggle to keep her life from unraveling under the ensuing onslaught of hostility from traditional doctors, men of the law, neighbors and friends alike. Supported by other midwives and her family, Sibyl stands by her decision and defends her occupation, even as she is plagued with disapproval and her own doubt and guilt. Like many Jodi Picoult novels, Midwives deals with a very controversial issue and winds up in a courtroom. It seemed a bit sensationalized and the characters were rather flat, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. However, I felt quite dubious about the daughter\’s final role.
This book has some themes in common with The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, on the subject of traditional versus alternative medicine. It\’s not as good a book, but interesting to think about in the same context.
Rating: 3/5 …….. Published: 1997, pp 372