50 Books by Authors of Color: Book 34
Title: 72 Hour Hold
Author: Bebe Moore Campbell
Keri is the owner of an upscale second-hand store that caters to the stars, she’s having a good though on-again-off-again relationship with Orlando, a moderately successful television actor and her daughter Trina is preparing to go off to Brown University to study medicine. Unfortunately for Keri, that is all about to change. Trina suffers from Bipolar disorder and decides to start both palming her medication and smoking marijuana, both of which send Trina into a manic phase.
Keri has done the support groups, the hospital visits, but now that Trina has turned eighteen, her ability to help her daughter is brought to nearly a standstill. At eighteen, Trina can legally refuse treatment, check herself out of voluntary treatment, etc. Trina’s behavior becomes out of control, with the police being called to Keri’s house repeatedly and Trina’s constant disappearing acts, one that lands Trina in jail for shoplifting, Keri decides that the system no longer works for her and her family so she decides to take manners into her own hands. Partnering with a group of rogue citizens and psychologists Keri tries to get Trina the help she needs no matter what the cost.
This was an interesting book, Keri is a successful black woman whose life is going in all the right directions until it doesn’t. She struggles for normalcy, for everything to go back to the way it was before Trina’s mental illness manifested, without realizing that what Keri defined as “normal” may be gone forever. This book is problematic because it does talk about forcing medications (through legal and non-legal) means on the mentally ill, regardless of what they want but I can easily see how a parent with a daughter like Trina could think that doing so is the only way to protect her. Trina’s behavior is destructive and she poses a danger to herself and others because her manic phases mixed with drugs or alcohol make her extremely violent and prone to pick fights. The balance between patient rights and caretaker rights is hard to find and this is clearly from the caretaker’s position so it’s hard not to agree with Keri on a lot of topics.
This is not a book I’d recommend to someone with a mental illness who is triggered by reading about them or to someone with a mental illness who has a problem with forced medication or with caretakers seeking conservatorship.
Overall Rating: 4/5 like always, Bebe Moore Campbell’s characterization is great.