I have finally finished the book “The Birth House” by Ami McKay.
My Aunt read the book and thats where I found out about it. When I asked the lady in the book store where I could find the book she light up and said it was one of the best books out right now. I have read the book from cover to cover and I loved every word. This book is filled with so much knowledge about the history of Scots Bay, it also includes the Halifax explosion and the war that was going on at the time.
Dora Rare was the first female born in the family in five generations. Nobody is to sure if its a blessing or a curse. And because of that she doesn’t really have too many friends except her six brothers and Miss B. Miss B is the midwife for the community and Dora soon learns all of her secrets. Then there is the Dr. Thomas that arrives promising painless births… My favorite part in the whole book is when Dora buys the Vibrator to get rid of the Hysteria… Dora is set to be married at the age of 17, and soon after discovers her husband is nothing but an alcoholic who beats her whenever he feels like it. He makes he stop the midwifing and “witchery”. Dora and a couple of the other ladies in the community set up an OKS (occasional knitters society) to knit socks for the men at war and to of course gossip. Soon after her husband unexpectadly dies she is catching babies and with the help of the Willow Book, supplying Scots Bay with herbel remmedies and pretty much answers to every kind of ailment. She cured the Spanish Influenza with Onion Baths and Onion Syrup. It brought tears to my eyes with the storis of the still births and miscarriages, and made me laugh out loud with the vibrator and some of the cures such as laying a woman upside down and speaking to the baby between the legs to get him to turn around. I just can’t imagine the things they went through.
This book just was such a wonderful piece of knowledge of what life was like back then. It makes me want to fly out to Nova Scotia to see everything out there and just “be there”.
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. I know Dan’s mom has the book now, and my mom has asked to borrow it.