Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book Club Report: Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

I met with my new book club for the third time this past week to discuss Midwives, a book from 1998 set in the early 1980s (and an Oprah Book Club pick).

Short summary:
Sibyl, a Vermont based midwife, is accused of manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license after a woman in her care dies giving birth. Sibyl insists she was not at fault, but her journal entries may tell a different story. The trial sets up a showdown between midwives and those in the medical community who believe babies should be born exclusively in hospitals.

The group* verdict:
The novel was generally well-liked although some found it lacking real tension and somewhat repetitive.

The actual book discussion didn’t last very long and devolved into topics both related (childbirth) and unrelated (the impact of social media).

My favorite parts were the court scenes, especially jury selection, and I thought the conversations Sibyl had with her lawyer were quite illuminating.

Up next:
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I’ll miss the meeting though since I’ll be out of town.

*Since it has come to my attention that not all members of my book club feel comfortable about my posting of the group’s opinions, I am including only the opinions of those members who gave me permission to do so.

12 comments:

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I read this one quite a while ago, but I remember liking it.

bermudaonion said...

Some books seem to lend themselves to discussion better than others.

Stacey @ book:thirty said...

I bought a used copy of this for $1 ages ago, and it still just sits in my TBR pile. Hopefully some day I'll get to it!! :)

Diane said...

I really liked Midwives, in fact ALL of Chris Bohjalian's books--he is a favorite author of mine.

~Mary said...

book looks interesting, i might have to pick it up.

Literary Feline said...

I really like the author's writing--but I'm not sure I'm a fair judge of that having only read one of his books. This is one that I've been meaning to read along with a few of his others.

Belle said...

I guess when a book touches on a topic that can be controversial, it's likely for the discussion to veer off into tangents other than the book itself. This one sounds like it would be an interesting read.

Serena said...

this book was just ok for me when I read it when it first came out.

S. Krishna said...

I've gone back and forth on this one, but if your group generally liked it I might have to give it a try!

karen! said...

I'm sorry to hear that some people in your book club aren't comfortable with you blogging about your discussions.

I write about my club's discussions, but am general and vague so as not to pinpoint anyone. They all seem to be fine with it (we actually talked a bit about it last meeting).

Zibilee said...

This is another book that I have on my shelf but have not yet read. I am glad to hear it was pretty good. I like the book club reporting as well. It helps me decide what books I might like to introduce to my group and see what kind of discussions they might bring up.

Bonnie said...

I read this years ago and found it a well told story and like Sibyl as a strong character. I liked the court scenes as well. I was impressed that a male author wrote so well about childbirth and a female character.