I have to admit it: I did the thing you’re never, ever supposed to do- especially as an avid reader or writer who knows better. And it isn’t the first time I’ve done that, truth be told.
I’ve committed similar crimes. Like the time I broke that sacred rule among all women and excitedly said to a woman I barely know, “Oh my gosh! You’re PREGNANT!!”
And she wasn’t. (I know, I’m still cringing, too. It was awful.)
I’ve done worse things. I’ve learned many lessons on what to say in public (my mom’s rule after a family outing, “Don’t say a word until all the car doors are shut and we’re driving away!”) and when to bite my tongue.
You may not think it’s as big of a deal… this other thing I did, but I do. I’m always glad to be proven wrong, yet I always fall back into the similar pattern. Have you guessed it yet?
I JUDGED A BOOK BY ITS COVER!
That’s right. I do this all the time, despite knowing how wrong covers often are. One solid picture that represents hundreds of written pages? A picture can say a thousand words… it can also misrepresent about 100,000 words!
My latest victim of judgement:
Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth
This is the cover I sat and stared at, not really wanting to pick it up:
Let’s admit it. It looks kind of cheesy. I guess it’s some tv show now, though I’ve never heard of it. My boss at work gave me this book to read and I ignored it for about a week. I was turned off by the three gals riding bicycles and the funny expressions of the two older women in the bottom picture. I didn’t want to know why the nun looked so smug/full of knowledge/kind. Weird of me, right? I just couldn’t really get past it.
Then I read the first page. And I finished the book in about three days.
It was an excellent, fantastic read! A real page turner.
Set it London in the 1950’s, this book depicts the true accounts of Jennifer, young midwife (about my age), and what she saw and learned and dealt with. I had no idea conditions for people were so awful. My perspective on life has completely changed. It’s one of those books… the kind that have you reevaluating what you take for granted every single day. After reading I realized I am LUCKY and BLESSED beyond belief because I have:
A running toilet, in a nice bathroom (many people in large cities in the 1950’s were still using outhouses or communal bathrooms in apartment buildings… one single “toilet” for hundreds of people)
A house for only two people (small one bedroom apartments would be occupied by a family of six or bigger)
A great hope for a healthy pregnancy with luxuries, such as prenatal visits and a clean facility to show up to (the nuns and young midwives traveled around on their bicycles for home deliveries, mostly to small and overcrowded apartments, as mentioned above)
A husband who is very kind and gentle (domestic abuse was prolific and unspoken)
Plenty of sunshine and green vegetables to eat (rickets were common due to lack of vitamin D, being in the big city and surrounded by tall buildings and therefore, shade, and other deficiencies due to poor nutrition)
A car (the nuns and other midwives seriously only had their bikes. I want to challenge myself to ride my bike when I leave the house, but I just haven’t done that yet. When it’s freezing cold and raining, I’m glad I don’t have to go out with that as my only option)
A job that has great hours and smiling faces and doesn’t include the word “factory” (many worked in factories, some of which were so awful that if a family arrived at the “workhouse” they were all separated – like a concentration camp- and rarely left)
That’s just to name a few. This book was filled with gripping stories of childbirth, poverty, laughter, tears and human nature. Some of Jennifer’s preconceived notions were completely turned upside down. The crazy lady who showed up at almost every birth wasn’t just being a pest, she truly cared to know if they were healthy and alive. The girl who had stolen a large amount of cash wasn’t just a horrible thief- she’d been tricked into prostitution and couldn’t find a way to escape. The women who had the dirtiest apartment was depressed and driven to drink because her husband was so abusive.
I know it’s just a book, but these stories are such a great reminder to me to not judge people. To give them the benefit of the doubt (one of my new years resolutions!) and to look kindly on all people, as you never know what they’re going through. Some stories in this book were hilarious, too. Some filled with joy and hope. Those were my favorite parts.
I highly recommend this book! Just don’t pay any attention to the cover.