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Diaries of a Hippie Midwife
on May 26, 2011
I write this review with the caveat that this really wasn't my type of book. It wasn't what I expected and I didn't really enjoy it that much. That said, I'm positive it will appeal to those who are more into this style of writing.
It's based on the true-life diaries of a midwife who was also an extreme hippie. When the story begins, she lives in a wood cabin in the middle of the woods, miles from the nearest road. We're talking below poverty level existence, here. No running water, no electricity. She loves her way of life, and yet she's dissatisfied at the same time. She participates in rallies and protests, occasionally tries to start a cooperative farm with other hippies, and at one point, she leaves her partner and young child in order to hitchhike around the country. Eventually she joins up with a new partner, has another child, and becomes a midwife. Toward the end of the book, there's a rather abrupt jump forward in time. Suddenly the author is a nurse, her husband is a doctor, and their children are grown and leaving home. It has a few flashbacks back to the previous time, and then sticks with the future period while her husband has some problems at work and some more babies are born. At one point, she's suddenly "a student" again, with no explanation that I noticed for why an experienced nurse-midwife is suddenly being forced to perform episiotomies against her will and defer to the RNs as if they know more about childbirth than she does. It made no sense, and if there was an explanation, I must have skimmed past it accidentally.
There were a few sections that I enjoyed. Some of the incidents that happened to the author were interesting and well-described. But she also gets very poetical at times, over-describing the moonlight and the trees and these feelings bubbling up within her. I skimmed past those, because frankly, they got tiring. I guess, basically, I didn't see the point of the book. I'm guessing it's just not my genre, because I didn't really find it entertaining. Also, I had to read it in short spurts, because it tended to get depressing if I tried to read too much of it at a time.
I suppose I also expected it to have more midwifery in it, since it's titled: A Midwife's Journey. But the midwifery almost seemed to take a back seat to the author's personal journey. She is a midwife--don't get me wrong. But the story is more about her as a person, and not about her practicing midwifery.
So, three stars because while I didn't enjoy it terribly, I think perhaps others might. I will definitely give it to my mother to read; I suspect that she'll get more out of it than I did, since she's lived through the decades described in the book.