Review: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, by Meg Elison

I would like to thank 47North and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife was a great read. At times it was the most difficult book I’ve read this year, too, though, which was unexpected for me, despite this being one of my favorite themes to read about. There is really a complete range of human emotion in this book.

I think that the reason I found this book difficult to get through at times was because this is the grittiest, most hard-hitting and realistic post-apocalyptic story I have ever read. Meg Elison really lays out all the possibilities for a world where most of the population has died, and there is about 1 woman to every 10 men. I’m not sure of the exact ratio, but it’s pretty grim for the women. Definitely not a scenario that I’d want to live through.

There are parts in this book that get pretty crude and probably offensive to some people. I really struggled with some of these parts, because they are hard to read. I don’t feel they were unnecessary to the story, though, but rather help to show the hard reality of what a post-apocalyptic world would really be like.

I think my favorite thing about this book is that it is extremely bold in its realism. It pulls no punches, and pretty much just lays it all out for the reader. If there were to be some serious event that were to cause most of the world to die, then life as we know it would be no more, and things would be downright ugly. Human nature is not always kind and gentle like we want to believe it is, and that really shows in this book. I’m grateful that things are shown like that, because I’d rather read the hard things and have the story really work, than read a white-washed story that doesn’t offend, but also doesn’t work.

I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a good post-apocalyptic book. However, there are STRONG adult themes in this book. Strong triggers as well. So if these things could be bothersome to you as a reader, I would suggest caution.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I am never compensated for my reviews.


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