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The Birth House Paperback – Deckle Edge, Mar 6 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (March 6 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676977731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676977738
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. Cannell on July 12 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book on a whim. I'd never heard of it before, but the cover just...caught my eye. And the charming binding made me pick it up. I wasn't dissappointed. It took me...a day to read it, 12 hours maybe, of solid reading, because try as I might, I couldn't bear to set it down for long. The story just...completely drew me in, and the characters make you fall in love with them from the very first chapter. This book made me laugh and cry and rage all in a single chapter...and provoking such an emotional response...is one of the hardest jobs an author has. Also, the additions of a glossary, recipe and other little fun tidbits in the back of the book were delightful. The perfect book for the summer.

Here's to tea with mitts!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kerri Scholz on June 6 2007
Format: Paperback
When I bought this book in the Toronto airport, I was looking forward to having an interesting read to Vancouver. Little did I know that this book would consume my every thought. I couldn't put it down! I stayed awake the entire flight reading it and couldn't wait to read more. I must say that when I finished this book, I was quite upset, and still am, that it was done. A really excellent read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By louise mcneill on May 12 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read both Ami McKay's books and both are just amazing! She is just a wonderful writer and really brings you into the time peroid and lives of these characters. I love the fact that the underlying current in both books is women and their rights and women banding together and taking control of their bodies. In this one, it's about a woman's right to decide how and where she will have her baby. Not the doctors decision or her husbands. As well it's about women choosing when to have babies. So empowering. Dora Rare is an unwilling midwife to begin with and then finds her power and place in the village as a savour to the women there. Truely a great read for any woman.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jhuzen Ketsugo TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 14 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of Dora Rare's Life, Love, Profession, and Compassion is not only Compelling, It's Inspiring. Amy McKay Paints a picture of life in an isolated village in Nova Scotia during WWII. Dora is drawn into the world of the holistic midwife, helping to bring new life into the world. Yet with the sweet comes the sour, Dora often learns to ease fragile souls onto their next journey. As an Obstetrical Nurse, I found the details of Dora's work both fascinating and true to life. But beyond my personal connection with this book, it is truly a great novel.
A must read, can't put it down, page turner!!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Mutford on Oct. 22 2010
Format: Paperback
In 2003 my daughter was born with the aid of midwives in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. They were godsends (and have become lifelong friends in the process). It was my first education into the world of midwifery and my wife and I are fully in support of the resurgence. It would stand to reason that I'd be drawn to Ami McKay's the birth house, which tells the story of a fictional midwife in early 1900s Nova Scotia.

What a colossal disappointment. Lately it seems that I've been drawn to a lot of stories that reveal the underside and complexities of small town life (in particular To Kill a Mockingbird and Dogville). At the beginning of the birth house it appeared that I'd be treated to another one of these tales:

"Men wagered their lives with the sea for the honour of these vessels."

"As the men bargained with the elements, the women tended to matters at
home."

"When husbands, fathers and sons were kept out in the fog longer than was safe, the women stood at their windows, holding their lamps..."

The problem was McKay never really got beyond this stereotypical view of maritime life, whereas the aforementioned stories excelled by stripping away the layers. In a lot of ways the birth house reminded me of E. Annie Proulx's faulted presentation of Newfoundland.

One exception was protagonist, Dora Rare. Another annoyance: McKay's ridiculous names. Had this read like a fable perhaps she could have gotten away with such silliness, but anchoring the story in such real-life events as the Halifax explosion and the 1st World War prevented any surreal experience she may have been going for. The Rares haven't had a male born in 5 generations, which makes Dora even more rare- wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Shaw on July 7 2006
Format: Hardcover
While I am normally a huge fan of historical fiction, I was not that impressed by this novel. I found the characters to be underdeveloped and the plot stilted. I found myself skipping over a lot of superfluous information that did nothing to further the story or enhance the characters. Before I get yelled at by those who love the book, I would like to say that I very much enjoyed the glimpse into the history of midwives/birth and woman's rights as well as the subtle yet clever parallels between the two. (IE the "birth" of women's rights and freedoms). However, I still felt it could have benefited from a good editor and the fleshing out of the plot.
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By Karen on Feb. 5 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love books that related to historical content this book was exciting to read and historical facts as well. Good read.
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By Megan Corkum on Dec 22 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is a great read. i usually don't read books again but this one will be being read again. I got one for all of my sisters as well!
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