Monday, January 07, 2008

The Birth House

Ami McKay's debut novel, The Birth House, tells the tale of Dora Rare. The first daughter to be born in five generations of her family, in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is mentored by an Acadian midwife. Telling of the difficult years near the beginning of World War I, Dora becomes Miss B's apprentice, helping the area women with all of their feminine health needs.

The arrival of a medical doctor with very straightforward ideas of women's medicine is met with mixed emotions, and it becomes clear that the many traditions and wisdom passed down through the generations are at risk. Dr. Thomas seems willing to sacrifice integrity in order to push the cause of "modern medicine", maliciously allowing wrong information to circulate about Dora's midwifery.

Not only is the story of Dora's personal life compelling, but the surprising details of what women were often subjected to will also keep the reader intrigued. Many of the traditions in birthing will not be as unfamiliar to 21st century readers as one would think, as medicine seems to have reconnected with more natural practices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book. It's different, but gets more compelling as you continue.