Summary: After a plague there are few survivors. One of them is the unnamed midwife. She dresses as a man to protect herself in a world that becomes increasingly dangerous to women. The midwife is on a mission. Give birth control to whatever women will accept it to try and prevent further deaths in a world where childbirth is almost always a death sentence for both mother and child.
My rating 2.5/5
For me, this book was a 2.5 out of 5 stars. I don’t normally give books less than a three unless they have structural issues. I felt like this one did but it wasn’t unreadable because of them. Just less enjoyable.
Let me start off with what I did like.
There was an interesting world. I was fascinated by the post apocalyptic world and thought it would have made a good backdrop for a movie or TV series.
I also liked that the book dealt with issues such as access to birth control and treatment of women in general. This book had the potential to be something I really enjoyed. It was the story telling that killed it for me. Not the world. Not the controversial content (well, kinda).
What didn’t work.
I am gonna be very careful here not to give away any major spoilers but there may be a few minor ones.
First off, I didn’t like the way the story was written. The story is told in first person through journals, third person limited through the unnamed midwife’s perspective, and then also in omniscient. This was jarring. I hated the omniscient bits which were mostly wrap ups of what happened to secondary characters after they left the midwife. And, in case you were wondering, most of them didn’t get to ride off into the sunset and have happily ever afters.
The next thing that bothered me is that I felt like certain groups were not well represented. I don’t mean that negative stereotypes were used as much as I just felt like it wasn’t accurate. One group in particular that got unfair treatment were Mormons. If you are Mormon this book is probably best skipped. I also felt like men in general were poorly represented. Men are pretty much the villains in this book. An argument can be made that “nice” and weak men would be killed off and only the cut throat jerk men would survive. But, yeah, I just couldn’t get behind the way men were portrayed as just vile evil creatures all around. There are terrible men, even in our own world, who abuse women. But, they are not the norm. At least, not the ones I know. Most men I have met are good people who treat women with the utmost respect. I have noticed that especially millennial men tend to be very concerned about the treatment of women and how their actions might be regarded as inappropriate. I am part of a writers group. I sat at a table with four men last night talking books. I’m sorry but I can’t believe any one of those men would become the monsters portrayed in this book. Nor my father. Or brother. Or boyfriend. I just thought there was too much evil men and it was a poor representation of men in general. I get that was kinda the point of the story. But, it bothered me.
Another huge issue I had with the story was that the main character was unlikable. I really hated the unnamed midwife. I can’t really tell you much about why without spoilers but I felt like she wasn’t a good person. I hated the choices she made and honestly just kinda hated her. There can be arguments made that she was just trying to survive in a cruel world but sorry, some of her choices went beyond that. Some simply showed a lack of integrity and a lot of selfishness.
I can’t really recommend this book to anyone. It is the worst one I have read this year.