the birth house

the birth house chronicles the coming-of-age tale of one Dora Rare, a young girl who lives in Nova Scotia in and around the time of the Halifax Explosion.  Dora is the lone female descendant in the Rare family, for as many generations as can be remembered.  From the moment of her birth, she is different.  Growing up in a sea of brothers, Dora is sent to live with an old wise-woman and midwife, Miss B.  Dora learns the art of midwifery at the feet of many women. Over the course of her formative years, Dora comes to understand the customs of midwifery, the power that women hold through their ability to birth, and the importance of female friendships. 

Ami McKay brilliantly describes life in the East Coast of Canada, with rich descriptions and beautiful folklore.  She makes the reader think about modern medicine in a very different way. Did hospitals and doctors take the power away from women and their traditions?  Was giving birth at home with an un-trained midwife an act of feminism?

Dora Rare is an elegantly simple protagonist. She speaks her mind, stands up for what she believes in, and makes her own sort of happily ever after. 

In the past I steered away from this novel at the library; I have no children and know nothing about birthing them.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a thought-provoking story of love, loss, and tradition. 

♥ Meg xoxo

PS. Sorry for the delay in posting; I've been having loads of trouble getting internet at the cottage

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