What It’s About:
In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.
A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.
After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.Goodreads
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife was an underwhelming read to put it mildly. One thing I did like about it was seeing the midwife survive in the apocalyptic setting. I liked reading her thought processes for traveling, scavenging, and defending herself. Other than that, all of the characters in this book were underdeveloped and boring.
Now on to the bad parts. There are many, but I will only include a few. I haven’t read a book or watched any movies in this genre for a very long time. My preferences could be a reason why I didn’t enjoy this book as much. It was very bleak and dark, which is to be expected in an apocalyptic novel, but I had a hard time wrapping my head why there was so much abuse, rape, and slavery of women (of various ages) in the book. It was just too much for me and could be very triggering to some readers. I couldn’t understand why almost all the men in this book were so horrible. There was also the inclusion of a “hive” lead by a woman that involved constant drug fueled orgies. It just seemed like the sex element was used for it’s shock value.
The Writing and Structure
Another thing that bothered me about The Book of the Unnamed Midwife was the way it was written. Several chapters included journal entires that were in a script like text and they were extremely hard to read on my Kindle. I kept having to adjust the font size to be able to read the entries. I finally gave up and just skipped the journal entires.
The flow of the writing was jarring because it jumps all over the place with a mix of journal entries in first person, then third person narration, and sometimes omniscient narration. Most of the book follows the midwife’s journey, but there are also random chapters that follow other side characters that just made it even more disjointed. Let’s just say that the overall structure of the book was not good.
Fortunately The Book of the Unnamed Midwife was a quick read. It didn’t take me long to finally put it behind me. I am frustrated at the time lost while reading this book and would not recommend it to anyone else.