Just Finished: “72-Hour Hold”

72-Hour Hold
Bebe Moore Campbell

I’m going to try dispensing with the clips from Amazon and writing my own summaries, starting now. But before that, from the cover:

Trina is eighteen and suffers from bi-polar disorder, making her paranoid, wild, and violent. Frightened by her own child, Keri searches for help, quickly learning that the mental health community can only offer her a seventy-two hour hold. After these three days Trina is off on her own again. Fed up with the bureaucracy and determined to save her daughter by any means necessary, Keri signs on for an illegal intervention known as The Program, launching them both on a terrifying journey.

This is the final novel from noted contemporary African-American writer Bebe Moore Campbell, who passed away earlier this year. I’ve read a few of her other novels (Brothers and Sisters, Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine), and got an excerpt from this one through Dearreader.com Book Club a few months ago.

Single mother and businesswoman Keri Whitmore is struggling with her teenage daughter Trina’s recent diagnosis with bipolar disorder, which has wreaked havoc with her plans for college and the future. Trina is struggling too – with staying on her medications, therapy, and staying away from the non-prescribed drugs that aggravate her mania and paranoia. Trina’s father Clyde hasn’t accepted the facts of his daughter’s illness, and at some level Keri hasn’t either; underlying her daily efforts to manage their lives, she seems to keep hoping that she’ll find the one “magic bullet” that will give her back the daughter she used to know, and this leads her to a desperate step outside the mental-health care system.

Keri is a very human character, exasperating to the point of “girl, please!” at times, but stirring empathy at many others, and her struggle is one that can make you appreciate the things you don’t have to deal with in your own life. The plot is engrossing, the writing is very direct and down-to-earth, and the characters are well-drawn.

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