A review by bristlecone
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

adventurous dark emotional sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


Although this reads largely like a standard in the post apocalypse genre, it is much more than a standard. For one, it is one of the few books in the genre that treats women like real people who are forced to operate under a different set of rules and who make decisions that they hope will help them survive given those rules.

It also accurately illustrated what most women already know, that a large percentage of men that we interact with don't see us as fully humans, that if societal norms broke down, a large number of the men that we work with and interact with would happily devolve into treating us like objects. Even some of the "good guys" in this who protect women display a feeling of ownership or the basic idea that women must be protected in order to have children and rebuild the human race, not because the woman is valuable just as a complete human being.  I saw a comment that said "apparently the only men who survive are rapists and murderers" but that isn't the case. Decent men survive, it's just they are such a rarity in the "before world" that they are even more rare in the "after world".