Review: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison


Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: October 2016

ISBN: 9781503939110

Genre: PostApoc

Rating: 3.4/4

Publishers Description: 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. 

Review: Wow, a couple of the reviews out there are pretty harsh on this on (I know, I should talk, right?).  One reviewer thought that the writer never passed remedial English in high school and that if written by a grade school student, it might receive better marks. Yikes. I didn’t think it was that bad.  I liked this novel. The story line was great as was the characterization. Even the bit players are built well in a limited amount of time.

<Spoiler Alert>

This novel was only slim on facts. Really, guns and bullets are almost impossible to find anywhere in your travels? Will most men in a post-apoc scenario turn to rape and enslave women so they can sell them to other rapists? Yeah, maybe. I can see where the author thinks that this is so, since there are virtually no women left. But wouldn’t women be prized (as they should be) rather than raped and abused? Does taking away their ability to produce live children diminish their value? Other questions brought to mind was the implausibility that almost every man turns into a drunken looter/rapist once the shackles of normative behavior are loosed. Since most everyone has died off, I doubt you would find roving packs of rapists or even the beginning of a barter system. For awhile, there really would be enough for all.

There was also some excessive backstory narrative that seemed to be rehashing what had already been said as well as the annoying journal entries. A real heavy dose of editing is needed to clean up the grammatical and spelling errors as well as the disjointed scene transitions and shifting points of view. Slim those down a bit and you have 4 easy stars. 

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