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72 Hour Hold Hardcover – June 28, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400040744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400040742
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This powerful story of a mother trying to cope with her daughter's bipolar disorder reads at times like a heightened procedural. Keri, the owner of an upscale L.A. resale clothing shop, is hopeful as daughter Trina celebrates her 18th birthday and begins a successful-seeming new treatment. But as Trina relapses into mania, both their worlds spiral out of control. An ex-husband who refuses to believe their daughter is really sick, the stigmas of mental illness in the black community, a byzantine medico-insurance system—all make Keri increasingly desperate as Trina deteriorates (requiring, repeatedly, a "72 hour hold" in the hospital against her will). The ins and outs of working the mental health system take up a lot of space, but Moore Campbell is terrific at describing the different emotional gradations produced by each new circle of hell. There's a lesbian subplot, and a radical (and expensive) group that offers treatment off the grid may hold promise. The author of a well-reviewed children's book on how to cope with a parent's mental illness, Moore Campbell (What You Owe Me) is on familiar ground; she gives Keri's actions and decisions compelling depth and detail, and makes Trina's illness palpable. While this feels at times like a mission-driven book, it draws on all of Moore Campbell's nuance and style.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Scientific American

Hell, being black is hard enough.... Please don't add crazy. So writes Bebe Moore Campbell in her compelling new novel that confronts two taboo subjects in the African American community: mental disorder and homosexuality. The book is named for the three-day maximum period that a mentally ill adult can be legally held in a public health facility if she demonstrates a danger to herself or others. The novel tells the story of Keri Whitmore, a successful black businesswoman struggling to care for a teenage daughter with bipolar disorder, which causes radical mood swings between mania and depression. The fictional prose is not meant to offer an inside look at brain disease. Rather it presents a brutally honest and devastating account of a mother's love and the desperate degree to which she will go to rescue her child from mental illness. In doing so, Campbell exposes the woeful inadequacies of our current public health care system in treating such patients and introduces the novel's greatest value: its insight into the challenges faced by people who must care for such loved ones. Nevertheless, this noble effort is undermined when Campbell invokes slavery to convey the horrors of mental illness. Though poignant, the comparison seems forced, relying on overwrought passages about whipping posts and slave auctions. The metaphor clouds the novel's purpose, especially since the author seems to decide, by the end, that the best way to deal with a family member's brain disease is through acceptance rather than emancipation. The same cannot be said of slavery. Campbell also draws parallels between brain disorders and homosexuality to suggest that both issues must be dealt with more openly. Her point that both are unfairly stigmatized is overshadowed by the unsavory implication that being gay is a malady somehow akin to mental illness. The novel offers important lessons to family members about caring for the self and seeking the support of others. And yet Campbell's main character is overly ambitious, much like the book itself. Keri seems more like a wonder-mom with an endless supply of time, energy and patience than a desperate mother on the brink of collapse. She not only cares for her manic daughter but runs her thriving business, strokes the ego of her workaholic exhusband, counsels her boyfriend's gay son and advises a drug-addicted ex-prostitute. Then again, Campbell has taken on ambitious aims, which she accomplishes with some success despite the novel's distractions.

Jeanne Hamming


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Brown Girl VINE VOICE on July 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Bebe Moore Campbell's latest novel, 72 Hour Hold, focuses on a

mother's frustration and desperation when dealing with a daughter suffering from mental illness. Earlier in the year, divorcee Kira Whitmore's beautiful daughter, Trina, was a high school senior and National Merit Scholar with a bright future ahead of her - starting with plans to study at Brown University in the fall. Then suddenly and unexpectedly, Trina changes and Kira innocently ignores a host of symptoms and warning signs. Trina's behavior eventually becomes more violent and erratic, spurring frantic 911 calls and numerous hospital visits that finally yield a diagnosis: bipolar (manic depressive)disorder. Their lives are literally turned upside down when Trina refuses to take the prescribed medication (mood stabilizers and psychotic drugs) and resorts to alcohol and marijuana use which only exacerbate and amplify her self-destructive behavior.

Like the good mother she is, Kira seeks and prays for a remedy or a cure, only to be told repeatedly that there is none, only lifelong treatment via prescription drugs. A weary attending physician does not offer much hope when he informs her with a look of pure pity that "mental illnesses can transform people. You may not be able to get back the daughter you had. You may, as the saying goes, have to learn to love a stranger," and wishes her good luck as a solitary comfort. She rebukes the advice and frantically learns all she can about the disease and its treatment via support groups and her own research with the hope that a breakthrough is on the horizon.

As hard as Kira tries to move in a positive direction, Trina's condition worsens. Her behavior modulates like an unsynchronized pendulum, from depression to mania with little to no warning.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. Konopka VINE VOICE on September 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I realize that this is a novel, but as Neil Diamond once sang "Except for the names and a few other changes, you could talk about me, the story's the same one". Having a family member who suffers from manic depression, I've lived through many of the episodes related in this book. There are the lies, the anger, the disappearances, and all of the other things that plague the narrator. One thing also remains the same: the love for the ill person can never be taken away, even though helping him or her causes terrible suffering and stress on the caretakers. It's not a perfect book by any means, but should be must reading for the caregivers of any mentally ill family member. They will see themselves in its pages, as I did.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By HonnyBrown on July 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't even know where to start with this book. It's a day to day story of a divorced mother who is trying to help her daughter deal with a mental illness. On top of that, she is African-American. Our culture typically shuns the mentally ill.

This book was written so well, that I started reading more on mental illness, since it does not affect me directly. I have read this book twice, and it was new each time.

The African American community (and probably the American community) needs to read this book to see what it's like to deal with an illness first hand, and everything that goes with it (the drugs, the way the government works, the support groups, what it does to a family).

Thank you, Ms. Campbell!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By One Word Mag.com on October 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In 72 Hour Hold, Bebe Moore Campbell struggles to paint a picture of a family battling with the destructive effects of bipolar disorder.

Keri, a successful business owner of a gently used clothing store in LA has an 18-year-old daughter, Trina who has been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Trina has been `on her meds' for quite some time, which ultimately lulls Keri into a sense of complacency. She believes it will always be this way and thinks her daughter will continue on to fulfill all the goals they'd mapped out for her to attain pre-diagnosis. Quickly readers will realize that she is disillusioning herself. Trina goes into a state of mania when she stops taking her pills and takes her mother on a rollercoaster that she was unprepared for. Keri, in essence, forgets to strap on her seatbelt. This book also deals with the issues of shame within the African-American community when someone's been diagnosed with an illness of the mind. Trina's father is adamantly against Trina being treated for a mental illness. Initially, he thinks his ex-wife is exaggerating and seeking attention by "putting Trina through this". Consequently, he is peripherally involved with the treatment and never witnesses the chaos that Trina reeks as she physically and emotionally abuses her mother, herself and in the end, him as well.

I admire the heroine of this novel. Keri is the rock for everyone she's involved with--her on again, off again boyfriend and his son, her ex husband, her child and her employees. And like the rock, she is underappreciated for what she is in everyone's lives. Like many black women, when faced with adversity she keeps moving even though her insides are shattering and falling apart.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Urban Reviews VINE VOICE on November 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
What would you do if your daughter suffered from a mental illness? Wouldn't you try to do everything in your power to save her? This is what Kerri is facing in 72 Hour Hold, the latest novel by Bebe Moore Campbell. Kerri is a mother who is trying to save her 18-year-old daughter Trina from a dangerous life by forcing her to deal with her bipolar disorder. Due to this mental illness, Trina becomes a violent stranger in her own home. Kerri tries to get Trina the best care possible but the bureaucracy of the mental health system is standing in her way. It also doesn't help that her ex-husband refuses to accept Trina's mental illness. Kerri learns that a seventy-two hour hold at a mental health facility is the only help you can get with an adult mentally ill child. After the hold, Trina can sign herself out and Kerri doesn't have to be notified. Kerri decides to sign up for an illegal, Underground Railroad-type intervention program ran by a group of radicals. When a potentially dangerous situation occurs during this program, Kerri has to decide if she should pull Trina out of the program.

72 Hour Hold is a compelling, emotionally-charged novel. Bebe Moore Campbell brings the complex topic of mental illness to the forefront with this story. She tactically shows the never-ending fight and obstacles one may face when trying to deal with a mentally ill relative. Campbell doesn't sugar coat anything in this novel. The realness of Trina's violent, erratic behavior due to the bipolar disorder really hits home with readers of how serious this illness is. Mental illness is a topic that is widely misunderstood, especially in the African-American community. Bebe Moore Campbell once again proves that she is an extraordinary novelist by bringing readers another rich, thought-provoking novel.
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