Considering my profession and my passion for related books, fiction or otherwise, I’m surprised by how long it took me to read a midwifery-related book as part of this challenge. However, I’m glad this is a book I chose to read and took time to read and enjoy. Whilst it took much of my Easter break to get through due to academic demands, it provided me a few pages of solace when I was in the depths of dissertation attributed despair.
The Pangolin Diary is David Stanley’s autobiography describing his time as a midwifery lecturer in rural Zimbabwe. Just reading that description in the blurb had me hooked. Two things I love in one book: midwifery and Africa. This book was no disappointment. It took you from breech deliveries on a labour ward to driving through the African bush trying not to hit errant chickens. Descriptions of the vibrancy of life contrasted against the hardship of daily existence.
I don’t want to describe this book in too much detail as I hope people will go and read it themselves. There’s friendship, death, loneliness, joy, achievement and despair often all just a page turn away from each other. The book keeps you going, tempting you with a snippet of another tale.
To all those, like me who devour their midwifery related novels, this should be on your reading list. For those who enjoy novels that describe African life and existence, that applies too. For those who enjoy both, you must read this book. You will not regret it*.
* Once you have read this book, if you enjoyed it I also recommend Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway.