Sunday, July 6, 2014
Review: Shadows of the Workhouse
Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh my. Parts of this were a little dull, but overall, some parts of it spoke to me so easily that it moved me to tears. Especially Jenny's friendship with Joe. I remember working with patients suffering from dementia and alzheimers, and the relationships you build can be so strong. Especially when you see them day in and day out and they never have a visit from family. You fill that void. You listen to their stories, their history. Those last chapters just hit home to me personally.
During this book, I started thinking, "how is this 'shadows of the workhouse'?" "There's hardly enough workhouse story being told." But then it comes around full circle and ties up the story completely with how the workhouses really did cast their shadow over so many people's lives, and society, as they were recycled into asylums, hospitals, then apartments.
Overall, I really did enjoy this book. More than the first one, and for completely different reasons. This book just moved me, as the first one entertained me. Sister Julienne told Jenny "When you are young, you go where you wish, but when you are old, others will take you where you do not wish to go." I can say that is absolutely correct. As much as it is sad to think about.
Jennifer Worth has her own way of weaving her story, and it may not appeal to some, but I found it natural and easy to follow. I especially like how she wrapped up the end of the story by showing how one aspect of her time at Nonnatus House (or outside of it rather) showed the process of how, in the end, the workhouse kept it's long shadows over so many of the people that attempted to avoid it many years before.
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