- Oprah's Book Club Selection
Midwives Paperback – Nov 8 1998
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
Oprah Book Club® Selection, October 1998: On a violent, stormy winter night, a home birth goes disastrously wrong. The phone lines are down, the roads slick with ice. The midwife, unable to get her patient to a hospital, works frantically to save both mother and child while her inexperienced assistant and the woman's terrified husband look on. The mother dies but the baby is saved thanks to an emergency C-section. And then the nightmare begins: the assistant suggests that maybe the woman wasn't really dead when the midwife operated:
Did she perform at least eight or nine cycles as my mother said, or four or five as Asa recalled? That is the sort of detail that was disputable. But at some point within minutes of what my mother believed had been a stroke, after my mother concluded the cardiopulmonary resuscitation had failed to generate a pulse or a breath, she screamed for Asa and Anne to find her the sharpest knife in the house.In Midwives, Chris Bohjalian chronicles the events leading up to the trial of Sibyl Danforth, a respected midwife in the small Vermont town of Reddington, on charges of manslaughter. It quickly becomes evident, however, that Sibyl is not the only one on trial--the prosecuting attorney and the state's medical community are all anxious to use this tragedy as ammunition against midwifery in general; this particular midwife, after all, an ex-hippie who still evokes the best of the flower-power generation, is something of an anachronism in 1981. Through it all, Sibyl, her husband, Rand, and their teenage daughter, Connie, attempt to keep their family intact, but the stress of the trial--and Sibyl's growing closeness to her lawyer--puts pressure on both marriage and family. Bohjalian takes readers through the intricacies of childbirth and the law, and by the end of Sibyl Danforth's trial, it's difficult to decide which was more harrowing--the tragic delivery or its legal aftermath.
Narrated by a now adult Connie, Midwives moves back and forth in time, fitting vital pieces of information about what happened that night like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into its complicated plot. As Connie looks back on her mother's trial, she is still trying to understand what happened--not on the night of the disaster--but in the months and years that followed. --Margaret Prior
From Library Journal
In this new tale from the author of the acclaimed Water Witches (LJ 2/1/95), a New England midwife is accused of murder. Film rights were bought by Columbia-Tristar Pictures.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
This story as stated earlier is from the POV of Connie. Connie is an adult that looks back on a situation that effected who she was and would become not only as a woman but as a professional. Connie's mom is arrested and tried after a home-birth that ends in the death of the laboring mother. What follows is a little look at one side of this tragic event that was not only thought provoking but moving.
I found myself pulled in from the very beginning and as a result I read this book in one day. This book doesn't beat up on Midwives or the choice of home-birthing. Nor is this book scary or overly graphic in nature. Mr. Bohjalian is a very talented author and I feel that he has done justice to this topic. The characters that make up this story are just as important as the storyline itself.
I must admit that I'm not much of a book club reader instead I read books that interst me so I have not jumped on the "bookclub bandwagon" but I found this book to really be the exception.
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone!! It is a Masterpiece in the way that the book draws your attention from the beginning to the end. The character selection does not stay behind at all either. Connie was very independant in the book and the connection that her and her mother had was beyond believe. I would have never thought a girl so young could know so much about a topic that is kept away from kids.
I am not going to say much to not give the book away, but It was great. This book is my favorite so far from any of the summer readings I have done this summer. Oprah could not have chosen any better. High Five Mr. Bohjalian and High Five Oprah...5 BIG STARS.
Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian, shakes all preconceptions one might have about the practice of midwifery. Regardless of any bias one might hold, for or against, the story of Vermont midwife, Sibyl Danforth, on trial for the death of one of her patients, brings us up short. With the jury, the reader is forced to examine the evidence. The events unfold, retrospectively, through the eyes of Sibyl's 14-year-old daughter, Connie - a fact which somehow makes the story more poignant and wrenching. This frightened young girl stands to lose her mother and her home, as well as her innocence.
Author Bohjalian deftly gives the reader new background and information only when the story requires it, keeping the suspense from first to last. The characters are believable - if not people you know, people you can respect and to whom you can lend your sympathy. Your heart will ache for all the innocent victims as the story plays out.
Oprah Winfrey chose well for her Book Club. Read this book.
While her mother stands trial for involuntary manslaughter, faces antagonism from the traditional medical community, and her own doubting mind, young Connie grows up, experiencing most things a fourteen year old girl would: boys, friends, school, boys...
This book is touted as a mix of suspense/court-room drama/feminist fiction (even though, inexplicably it was penned by a man!) and a score of other familiar themes. However, this book is unique and unlike anything I've read before. This is a truly human story, and can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys a good story.
In one review, People magazine likened Chris Bohjalian's novel to To Kill a Mockingbird. And while, only time will tell if Bohjalian's novel has the essence, scope, or vision of a true classic, I have reason to believe that that comparison is not far off the mark.
Most recent customer reviews
Wonderful story. As a nurse and mother I was fascinated by this story. Definitely a great read!Published 3 days ago by Elizabeth Grandbois
A very entertaining book, speaking of a series of difficult decisions to be taken in a split second and against a further series of negative circumstances surrounding the... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2007 by ELI (Italy)
What a great story. Told by the teenage daughter, this book has everything and keeps you interested until the end. Read morePublished on June 5 2007 by Louise Beauregard
Midwives is a gut-wrenching novel about Midwifery in rural New England. Midwife, Sibyl Danforth, through the eyes of her daughter. Read morePublished on June 23 2004 by Doug Welch
If there is any book that exemplifies self-doubt and innocence, it is Chris Bohjalian's Midwives. The story is told by a grown woman about the most important moment in her life... Read morePublished on June 21 2004
Chris Bohjalian did a great job with this book. The life of a midwife occupation and the risks they take everyday to make women feel comfortable in their homes was beautifully... Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Sarah Stevens
I really enjoyed reading this book. I was really impressed with the form of narration that this book was written in. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Jenny Comers
This was an entertaining book about Sybil Danforth, a midwife. There are tons of high and low points, and there never really is a dull moment. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Kevin Liu
froma guy point of view, i was truly engaged with this novel. From the begining with the word "Vulva" i was stuck ready. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Ronald Harvey