Friday 31 May 2024

BLOG TOUR: Belly Woman - Benjamin Black

What happens to pregnant women when a humanitarian catastrophe strikes?

Belly Woman shines a light on a story often left untold.

May, 2014. Sierra Leone is ranked the country with the highest death rate of pregnant women in the world. The same month, Ebola crosses in from neighbouring Guinea. Arriving a few weeks later, Dr Benjamin Black finds himself at the centre of an exponential Ebola outbreak. From impossible decisions on the maternity ward to moral dilemmas at the Ebola Treatment Centres. One mistake, one error of judgment, could spell disaster.

An eye-opening work of reportage and advocacy, Belly Woman chronicles the inside journey through an unfolding global health crisis and the struggle to save the lives of young mothers. As Black reckons with the demons of the past, he must try to learn the lessons for a different, more resilient, future.

What did I think?

Belly Woman is a medical memoir set during the West African Ebola epidemic of 2014 to 2016 and I think it's important to mention the trigger warnings for this book.  There are a lot of miscarriages and stillbirths so it might prove difficult reading for anyone who has experienced this themselves, however, the western experience of such devastating events is in stark contrast to the experiences depicted in this book.

Dr Benjamin Black was there on the front line but instead of feeling proud of everything he accomplished in Sierra Leone he feels ashamed.  Ashamed he couldn't do more...ashamed that so many pregnant women didn't leave his care with a live baby...ashamed of the health service we take for granted but don't support enough...I could go on.  Note that this is my interpretation of Benjamin Black's feeling of shame as I completely understood why he would feel that way.

For a non-fiction book, the pacing is incredibly fast as it is so well written and full of drama that it feels as if it's a fiction novel.  Unfortunately for the people of West Africa, this story is very real.  Before COVID-19 there was Ebola, but this mainly affected Africa so to most of us in the UK it was simply a foreign news story.  This is the true story of Ebola and its devastating effect.

Harrowing, honest and raw, Belly Woman is a powerful and unforgettable novel that everyone should read.  Very highly recommended.

I received a digital ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:

Follow the tour:

No comments:

Post a Comment