Delivery: A Nurse-Midwife's Story

Jennifer Crichton, Author Warner Books $0 (535p) ISBN 978-0-446-51331-9
Based on interviews with nurse-midwives, Crichton's first book is designated nonfiction by the publisher, but both style and format render it fiction, or perhaps that indeterminate category, ""faction.'' At Brooklyn's Morrison Hospital, impoverished women in labor often become unwilling teachers for a raft of overtired, sometimes incompetent interns. A lucky few are ministered to by Holly Treadwell, the fictional composite of Crichton's interviewees. Holly is a concerned, tart-tongued nurse-midwife whose methodswhich stress natural labor over the convenience of the hospital and the use of its technologyare at loggerheads with those of the medical establishment. Short, tightly compressed chapters make the book somewhat disjointed, but Holly's nights in the delivery room are truly dramatic as she coaches a frightened teenager, a blase streetwalker or a sleek and glossy female executive. Routine births and unexpected complications, appear in equal measure here; each is presented in graphic detail, and the tension fairly crackles. It's refreshing to note that Holly has faults: she cares more about her reputation than her patients on occasion and is not above wheedling favors out of the oversexed OB resident. Chrichton's fast-paced dramatization abounds with strong and satisfying character sketches, and the hospital background is rendered with authenticity and immediacy. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour. (October 15)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-446-34640-5
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