72 Hour Hold [NOOK Book]


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 ...
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72 Hour Hold

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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Keri Whitmore wishes that her daughter's bipolar disorder would merely lift, leaving Trini as the bright and beautiful young girl she once was. But Trini's malady is escalating, not receding, endangering her college prospects and terrorizing those around her. Desperate and confused, her loving mother searches frantically for a quick solution for these deeply ingrained problems. Her growing insights into the bonds of mental illness lend a credible edge to this emotional novel.
Nancy Rawles
In 72 Hour Hold Campbell is particularly compelling in her depictions of substance abuse, attempts to self-medicate and the use of prisons as mental institutions. She seems to be saying to anyone who'll listen: It's biology and chemistry, get it? It's not about demonic possession or bad parenting. It's about accessible, affordable, ample and aggressive health care. To some extent, this is a novel for policymakers. It reveals the pain behind the statistics, the bewilderment of repetitive loss, the ebb and flow of hope against hope and, finally, the necessity of acceptance. It deserves a wide audience and the honest, open discussion that Campbell hopes to encourage.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
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. 100,000 first printing; 17-city author tour. (July 5) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
To quote the review of the audiobook in KLIATT, March 2006: When Keri's teenage daughter, Trina, starts showing signs of erratic behavior and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Keri hopes that the many conventional treatments and hospitalizations will succeed; but after one dangerous escape and escapade, she finally resorts to an unconventional treatment. Keri is one of those women who everyone counts on to know what has to be done and to do it without falling apart herself. This novel expresses the hope, despair, love, and hatred that are all part of trying to help a beloved child who is thrown off track by mental illness and the effect it can have on even the strongest mother. By placing the story in a middle-class African American family, Campbell tells a sad but familiar story in a different setting with new insights. The story of Trina's encounters with the various aspects of the mental health system and the damage they can create are almost as important as the story of her sickness and attempts at recovery. KLIATT Codes: SA--Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, Random House, Anchor, 319p., $12.95.. Ages 15 to adult.
—Nola Theiss
Library Journal
Los Angeles businesswoman Keri Whitmore has created a comfortable middle-class life for herself and her teenage daughter, Trina, who has just been accepted to an Ivy League college. Their well-ordered lives begin to unravel when Trina is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Determined to fix things, Keri gets help for her daughter and keeps her on a strict treatment and medication regimen. Things take a turn for the worse when Trina turns 18, and no longer legally empowered to control her daughter, Keri turns to unconventional methods to get what Trina needs. The title term refers to the length of time mental health facilities can hold and treat individuals after an episode. Campbell has crafted a compelling look at the mental health system and peppered her story with parallels to slavery and the work of the Underground Railroad. Unfortunately, Pamela D'Pella's monotone reading diminishes the power of Campbell's theme and prose so the text version is preferable.--Gwendolyn E. Osborne, Evanston, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Campbell's provocative fourth novel explores our culture's treatment of mental illness through the story of one mother's desperate attempts to save her manic-depressive teenaged daughter. Keri is the owner of a successful Los Angeles designer clothing resale shop. Her daughter Trina, headed to Brown on a National Merit scholarship, is diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 17 and put on medication. But Trina rebels against her mother's rules, experiments with alcohol and marijuana, and won't take her meds. Without them, she doesn't sleep for days, becomes violent when her mother tries to restrain her, and runs away. When she turns 18, she can no longer be signed into the hospital for involuntary care. To protect her daughter, Keri calls the police. If they judge that Trina is a danger to herself or others, or is seriously disabled, she can be held against her will in a hospital's mental ward for 72 hours. Each time this happens, Keri tries to get the hospital to extend the period so the medication that keeps Trina's disorder under control can become effective, but usually she's released at this point and goes back to her cycle of mania and depression. Meanwhile, the likable Keri has ongoing relationships with Orlando, an actor; his son, who trusts her enough to tell her he is gay before he is able to tell his parents; a support group for the loved ones of people with mental illnesses, and an ex-husband who puts work before family concerns and refuses to believe his daughter is ill. Through another suffering mother, Keri learns about an underground group of psychiatrists who "kidnap" patients like Trina, give them intensive therapy and save them from the most damaging effects of mentalillness. Using Underground Railroad metaphors, Campbell describes Keri's decision to make such an "intervention" and shows, through various twists and turns, how Keri and Trina change their lives. Campbell (What You Owe Me, 2001, etc.)transforms one mother's heartbreaking dilemma into a compassionate and suspenseful story that reverberates long after the final chapter is over. First printing of 100,000; author tour
From the Publisher
"Bebe Moore Campbell shatters our abstract notions about mental illness. . . . [She] is a writer at the top of her form as a storyteller, culture keeper and astute social critic." –Los Angeles Times

“A tightly woven, well-written story about mothers and daughters, highs and lows, ex-husbands and boyfriends, and how a ‘perfect’ life can be completely altered by something entirely beyond our control. . . . Universally touching.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“Stark, incisive and often harrowing, 72 Hour Hold wrenches open the closet door behind which mental illness has been hidden in communities of color. It’s no small task, but Campbell handles it with characteristic verve and aplomb.” –The Baltimore Sun

“I am grateful for Bebe Moore Campbell. . . . Campbell fearlessly unveils the pain of loss and the ecstasy of love. Add to that courage, and the graceful ability to write very, very well.” –Maya Angelou

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307424259
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 130,239
  • File size: 413 KB

Meet the Author

Bebe Moore Campbell was the author of several New York Times bestsellers: Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, What You Owe Me, which was also a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001, and 72 Hour Hold. Her other works include the novel Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for literature. Bebe Moore Campbell died in 2006.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Right before the devastation, I had a good day. God should have pulled my coattail then and there: “Enjoy this while you can, honey, because Satan beat me in a poker game last night, and he’s claiming you and yours sometime soon.” After all the praying and tithing I’ve done, I deserved a heads-up. Damn. Whatever happened to sending a sign? Lean cow, fat cow. Burning bush. Dove with an olive branch. Yoo-hoo! Something.

It was probably better that the events evolved with no foreshadowing. Preparation wasn’t possible. And what difference would it have made anyhow? Knowing that the hounds are tracking you doesn’t mean you won’t get caught; it means you have to get to the swamp fast.

So there I was, clueless: lolling in the bed, stretching my legs and my toes—which needed a pedicure—ticking off a list of things to do in my head, I began to wake up. It was the second Saturday in April. Sunshine was making its way through a thick haze. Rising up, I stared out of my bedroom window, squinting a bit as I tried to discern the LA skyline, framed neatly between the two huge palm trees in my backyard. Thick pea soup almost obliterated the view, but I didn’t look away until I sighted those buildings. Once I knew the city had survived the night, my shoulders came down. Anything can happen at any time in an earthquake zone, and I’ve learned to take nothing for granted. I’ve gone to bed some evenings only to awaken at dawn to broken windows and cracked dishes. That the Bank of America and Wells Fargo headquarters hadn’t been shaken and dashed into oblivion during the night meant I had survived as well. I’m always grateful for a morning with no tremors, no frantic dogs barking.

Trina was beside me, not a heartbeat away, her hip pressed into my thigh. She felt warm against me, the pressure of her body weight comforting. The day after her eighteenth birthday, when most girls were declaring their independence, my daughter was still creeping into my bed. Even when she hated me, she wanted to be close. She was still fresh from last night’s bath and smelled like Dove and that pale yellow lotion in the big plastic bottle. That staple of American vanities and kitchen counters promises to banish dry skin forever but can’t even begin to handle seriously crusty feet. My grandmother’s feet at the end of February would have had that lotion begging for mercy. But then, when you grow up plowing Georgia clay barefoot in the hard times, nothing on or in you remains soft. For Trina’s smooth, buttery skin, that watery lotion worked just fine. The toes pressed against my calves were just as supple as the rest of her and just as lovely. Gazing at my sleeping daughter, I could take her in without annoying her. Such a pretty child, I thought. There wasn’t a blemish on her honey-colored face. When she was a little girl, I was lulled by the well-wishing smiles of strangers who were bewitched by the dazzling enormity of her round eyes and endless smile, her marble-sized dimples and naturally sandy hair. Trina seemed to take the attention in stride, but it inflated me. My gingerbread-brown face was symmetrical, with two eyes placed where eyes should be, lips that weren’t full or thin, a nose that would keep me alive, hair that was thick and strong but otherwise unremarkable. Nobody turned to stare at me when I walked down the street, not the way they did with Trina. I used to think of her beauty as an insurance policy that would guarantee her a perfect life. A lot of people who aren’t beautiful think this way.

It was six o’clock, and I had a standing appointment with the treadmill and some free weights. Trina stirred, then turned over and stared at me.

“Hey, grown woman,” I said, teasing.

“My back hurts,” she said, her voice still tinged with sleepiness. She yawned and arched her body, then settled herself beneath the covers.

This was a setup, and we both knew it. “Well, you should get on the floor and do those exercises I showed you. That will get the kinks out.”

“Aww, Mommeee!” she wailed, fully awake.

“Aw, Mommy, what?”

“Can’t you rub it just a little bit?”

I felt a twinge of annoyance. She knew I worked out every morning. “Turn over.”

Her motion was languid, a movement befitting the idle rich.

I leaned over my daughter and began kneading her back and shoulders. There were no knots of tension anywhere. She became limp beneath my fingers. In a few minutes she was asleep again.

Downstairs in my kitchen, I stopped to get a bottle of water before going into the small gym located next to the garage. Thirty minutes on the treadmill at five miles per hour, followed by fifteen minutes of lifting free weights, then about twenty minutes of floor exercises—that was my routine. I’ve always been into fitness. I opened the windows, turned on loud salsa music, and began my workout. By the time I had finished running in place, my forehead was dripping and my clothes were damp. I reached for the free weights, lifting and lowering, extending and holding, until my biceps were ready to secede from the rest of my body. I forced myself to do two hundred sit-ups and fifty leg thrusts, panting and sweating like a beagle on crack. Forty push-ups to go. I counted from one to ten, then ten to one, then twenty to one. Shrink the challenge—my way of psyching myself out. All my muscles seemed to be bursting when I finally began stretching. Time for euphoria. I did it!

“Let’s go somewhere, Mommee,” Trina said when I returned to the bedroom. She hadn’t moved from the spot where I’d left her.

“Like where?”

Trina paused for a moment, considering her options, confident—now that the morning had begun with her first request being granted—that her every bidding would be honored. “Let’s go downtown and get some flowers.”

Her voice was childlike, with a smooth, unperturbed lilt, a tone that made her sound so vulnerable. This eight-year-old voice gave me reason to pause, to ponder. She hadn’t sounded like that in a long time.

Trina was incapable of moving fast in the morning. If prodded, she turned first irritable and then insufferable. I, on the other hand, dressed quickly. But then my uniform for Saturdays was easy: sweats and sneakers, no makeup, no hairdo, totally unlike my fashion-plate weekday attire. I glanced in the mirror in my bathroom; my mother stared back at me. Impossible to escape her: same eyes, same mouth and smile, same cheekbones. I closed my eyes and untied the silk scarf that held my short bob in place. Two strokes of the comb, a few little flips with my fingers, and I was done.

From the kitchen I could hear Trina thumping around inside her room, opening and slamming drawers. She was her own personal tornado; the mess she’d leave behind her when she finally descended would be a viable submission for a Guinness record. She had on both the television and the radio. Hoping she wouldn’t take forever, I made breakfast, cleaning up and putting things away as I cooked. The birthday cake I’d baked was still on the counter, the eighteen candles intact. The stove, floor, and sink were spotless. If I couldn’t control my child, at least I was in charge of my kitchen.

When she was finally dressed, Trina bounded down the stairs like an exuberant puppy. “You fixed breakfast. Yummy.”

There it was again, the baby voice.

I made breakfast most days, not that I’m such a little Betty Crocker but because Trina had to eat well. We sat at the kitchen table and gobbled up the nonfat bran muffins, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal I’d prepared. I poured hot coffee for me and orange juice for Trina. Taking the plates to the sink to scrape them, I could see Trina from the corner of my eye, stealing a sip from my cup. My shoulders tightened, inched upward. Trina wasn’t supposed to have caffeine. But then she reached for the small bottle of pink pills that was between the salt and pepper shakers. She shook out one, placed it carefully in her mouth, and swallowed it with the hot liquid. For the last three or four months I hadn’t had to remind her. She took another sip of coffee and then several more. Maybe she was having trouble swallowing the pill.

“You don’t have to keep staring at me,” she said, when I sat back down.

“I can’t look at my own gorgeous child?” I always tried to stop myself from watching Trina, or at least being caught at it.

“I know what I have to do. I want to go to school in September.”

“I’m not worried, sweetie.”

Some days that was true.

Crenshaw Boulevard was just beginning to open its eyes as we made our way down from the hills of View Park, the quiet neighborhood that looms above the usually bustling business district. It was just after eight o’clock and the mall was still closed, of course, as were most of the stores that lined the street. But the small army of hucksters whose domain was the block just north of Slauson Boulevard had already queued up.

Their wares were arranged neatly on tables near the backs of their vans or on portable shelves that were as close to the oncoming traffic as was legally possible. Or illegally possible. CDs, tapes, African garb, a few food items, some household products, and clothing were for sale, as well as the occasional bootlegged video. “Pssst. Got that new Chris Rock, right here. Gimme five.” The most colorful items were the T-shirts and caps hanging from the chain-link fence that surrounded a vacant lot and served as a backdrop for the makeshift outdoor mall. There were no hordes walking along Crenshaw. Customers had to be hunted, then captured. Several salesmen waded into traffic, vigorously waving their goods.

I beeped my horn as I passed Fish Man, a portly gentleman who sold fresh salmon from the back of a white van at prices that were far lower than at the grocery store. A few feet away Mr. Bean Pie, representing the capitalistic interests of the Nation of Islam, clad in the requisite suit and bow tie, hawked newspapers and mouth-watering pies created from the lowly navy bean to drivers stopped at the red light. Beyond the bakery section, young men were approaching idling cars, holding up T-shirts, caps, and all manner of Lakers regalia, not to mention American flags in every size, for every conceivable place. I whizzed by them. I had a flag sticking in my lawn and one on my car and no longer braked for Old Glory.

The last enterprise zone belonged to Crenshaw’s most ubiquitous sales force: the Incense People. Later in the day they would prop themselves in front of Laundromats and beauty parlors, slouch against the exterior walls of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Rite Aid, and Savon Drugs, waving their wares and chanting “Buy some incense” to anyone who ventured close enough to be considered a possible sale. Based on the sheer size of the IP workforce, it was a wonder that a mushroom cloud wasn’t hovering over South Central at all times. Either we were the dope-smokingest folks in the city or we were meditating around the clock. Maybe both. Several young men were eyeing my car, their fists dangling the telltale plastic bags, but fortunately the light was green. Among the legions of hucksters, the IP were the risk takers and had been known to jump in front of moving vehicles, defying death and dismemberment for the sale of a one-dollar bag.

Half a block away, Crazy Man was standing near one of the IP. Some of my neighbors referred to him that way, and even though I, of all people, should have known better, I did too. Mumbling to the air around him, he appeared to have schizophrenia but seemed harmless. According to some neighbors, he had been normal until he came back from Vietnam. Others swore his troubles began during high school. Crazy Man trekked in and around the community all day long, returning at night to his mother’s house. His hair was a matted clump that hadn’t seen shampoo, comb, brush, or scissors in a decade. He was clad in ancient dirty pants and a ragged shirt. His feet were bare and filthy. It would take heavy-duty equipment to get him clean. That and a crew. If mania and hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia have an odor, then that’s what was rising out of his pores. Maybe pain, loss, and fury too.

The light ahead of me flashed yellow, and I sped up to get across the street. Just as I pressed down on the gas, I heard “Trina! Keri!”—a loud, exuberant yell. Trina turned around, and I glanced in the rearview mirror. A teenage boy in the car next to us was waving and shouting.

“Mom, that’s PJ. Yo, PJ, whazzup?” Trina screamed out the window. I waved. My ex-boyfriend’s son was one of my favorite people, and I hadn’t seen him in the months since I’d broken up with his dad.

“Thanks for the cash!” he yelled as his car sped away. When I caught a glimpse of him, he wasn’t smiling. Sometimes he looked so sad to me.

“You’re welcome!” I hollered back, then chuckled. Only two weeks earlier I’d stuck three twenties into a birthday card and mailed it to him.

I craned my neck to get a better look at PJ, and at that moment Crazy Man stepped off the sidewalk against the light, directly in my path. There was no time to stop. To my right was an SUV; a man was driving and there were children in the back. Another man stood on the median, holding a bag of incense in his hand. If I braked and then aimed toward the median, maybe the concrete riser would slow me down enough for him to get out of the way. It was my only option.

When my front tires hit the concrete, the huckster jumped back and his incense went flying into the air, along with some hand picked words for me. I froze momentarily, grateful that the move I’d executed had been successful, then caught my breath, put the car in reverse, and backed up into my lane. Around me horns blared as I put my car in drive and continued forward, feeling a surge of rage as I passed Crazy Man. His face was placid as he stared vacantly straight ahead, seemingly unaware that he’d ever been in any danger.

“What’s up with that stupid fool?” Trina asked.

“Not thinking, I guess.”

“Dag.” She brightened. “Did you see PJ?” She started laughing. “He was trying to look all hard and everything. He has a mustache.” She giggled again.

“Does he really?” I always thought of PJ as my little boy, which of course he wasn’t.

Trina and I had been going to the flower district since we first moved to LA from Atlanta, nearly ten years earlier. Located downtown, only blocks away from the huge aquamarine convention center and the massive Staples Center, home court of the Los Angeles Lakers, the flower mart was part of a larger area that housed the city’s garment, jewelry, and fabric districts. In cramped, airless buildings, immigrant women who couldn’t say union in English bent over sewing machines, stitching the bodices of prom gowns and swimsuits. Koreans mostly sold not-so-well-known brands and designer knockoffs. Israeli wholesale jewelers played dialing for diamonds. And Iranian merchants offered fine silks, woolens, and blends for less than a third of the price of the city’s retail fabric shops. It was Seoul meets Tel Aviv meets Tehran as borders blended.

The flowers were the province of the Latinos, and there was as much Spanish as English, not to mention Spanglish, in the air as Trina and I meandered from florist to florist. Sellers were set up in adjacent stalls under one gigantic roof. Prices and quality varied, and years of experience, as well as my southern-girl origins, had taught me that it paid to compare. Trina, on the other hand, was not the child of a grandmother who’d survived the Depression and had instilled in her the belief that frugality and deferred gratification were the only entrance fees for Baptist heaven. I had indulged my daughter when she was a child. I hadn’t overindulged her, but I had wanted her to grow up feeling as entitled to lessons and trips as the white kids at her private schools. That Saturday morning, her sense of entitlement was in full display; she stopped at each flower stall and said, “Mommee, let’s get some of these,” with no regard for cost.

That baby voice again. My daughter acted more like a preadolescent than someone now legally entitled to do whatever she wanted without my permission. Watching her drift from flower to flower, I had the feeling that she would be a child for a while longer.

The birds-of-paradise caught my eye. They were huge and bright, and even though the same flowers dotted many of the lawns in my neighborhood, they didn’t grow on mine. “How much?” I asked a stocky man who had just wrapped up flowers for another customer.

“They very beautiful now.”

“Yes, they are. How much? ¿Cuanto cuesto?”

As he added up numbers in his head, a young white couple behind me chatted animatedly. I heard the words screenplay, producer, and green light and turned to see the requisite bony blond girl and her handsome, scruffy boyfriend. They weren’t much older than Trina. In Los Angeles, Hollywood hopefuls are as ubiquitous as the lattes grandes they slurp. There is no escaping their driving ambition. Irritation swept over me. Just looking at them, I wanted to slap both those faces, to knock away the self-assurance that was etched there. They were bubbling over with enthusiasm and confidence, so sure they were on their way. I didn’t want their oh-so-important moneymaking dreams to come true. The last thing on this earth I wanted to see was more of their images on screen, more of them kissing, having fun, being dramatic, or saving the day. I gave them a surly glance, but they didn’t even notice.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Reading Group Guide


“Shatters our abstract notions about mental illness. . . . [Campbell] is a writer at the top of her form as a storyteller, culture keeper and astute social critic.” —Los Angeles Times

The introduction, discussion questions, suggestions for further reading, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group’s discussion of 72 Hour Hold, a gripping novel of family tragedy and redemption by Bebe Moore Campbell.

1. The novel is narrated from Keri’s point of view. How does she present herself as a character in the opening chapter? What are the traits that have made her a successful businesswoman? How does her character contrast with that of her teenage daughter?

2. Dr. Ustinov tells Keri, “your daughter is bipolar” [p. 25]. Consider the terms in which Dr. Ustinov presents Trina’s illness to Keri [p. 29]; his approach is purely factual, while hers is psychological and filled with guilt. Does Keri begin to lose her guilt about Trina’s illness as the novel proceeds, or does she continue to feel that in some sense, it’s “always Mommy’s fault” [p. 30]?

3. Friendships between women are important in this novel. What kinds of support and strength do women offer each other? Discuss examples of the loyalty and love shared between female characters in the story.

4. How does Keri’s history with her mother’s alcoholism affect her approach to Trina’s illness? In what ways is Keri’s refusal to forgive her mother understandable, and in what ways does she refuse to realize that her mother might also be considered to have a brain disease? How does Keri eventually make the choice to let her mother back into her life?

5. In what ways does 72 Hour Hold help readers question the phenomenon that having a perfect child (high-achieving, popular, talented, beautiful, etc.) contributes greatly to a parent’s self esteem and social status? Does Keri eventually let go of these ideas? If so, how?

6. What is the effect of Campbell’s frequent use of the metaphor of slavery—its images, its terrors, its punishing psychology—throughout the novel? See, for instance, page 3 (“the hounds are tracking you”) and page 28 (“I embarked on my own Middle Passage that night, marching backward, ankles shackled”). If Keri’s experience with her daughter’s mental illness is like the experience of slavery, does the novel yield any sense of liberation from this condition? How does Keri’s relationship with Orlando differ from her relationship with Clyde? At a moment of extreme crisis in the story, it seems as though Keri will get back together with Clyde. Why does she ultimately choose Orlando instead?

7. How does Keri’s relationship with Orlando differ from her relationship with Clyde? At a moment of extreme crisis in the story, it seems as though Keri will get back together with Clyde. Why does she ultimately choose Orlando instead?

8. Just as Keri has to accept her daughter’s illness, Orlando has to accept P.J.’s homosexuality. Why is this so devastating for Orlando? Does the description of the household Keri and Orlando share at the end of the novel suggest that both Keri and Orlando are at peace with their children?

9. What is the significance of Keri’s skill as a masseuse in her approach to healing both herself and Trina? Why is this mode of touching so important to the bond between the two of them?

10. The relationship between Keri and Orlando presents an example of the difficulties self-made women encounter when they find themselves with less-successful men. (Campbell has also written a nonfiction book on this topic.) Why is Keri impatient with Orlando’s lack of success, and how does she come to terms with it?

11. The segment of the novel that describes the intervention, which involves a road trip and a good deal of suspense, adds an element of adventure to this story of family tragedy. What is the effect of these chapters, and how does Campbell make them such compelling reading?

12. Karl, the intervention leader, is the child of a mother who was mentally ill. What do his and Keri’s family histories tell us about the kinds of damage done by untreated mental illness? In what ways can Karl and Keri be seen as overcompensating for—or still reacting to—their painful childhood experiences?

13. In a significant conversation between Keri and Trina on pages 298–299, Trina acknowledges the pain of having to give up the college life she was on the verge of, even as she also acknowledges the danger of suicidal feelings. Does the end of the novel suggest a hopeful outcome for Trina?

14. What is the significance of the green pantsuit with the small stain, which Keri finally wears at Trina’s performance [p. 318]? How is it related to the novel’s epigraph from a Leonard Cohen song: “Ring the bells that still can ring. / Forget your perfect offering. / There is a crack in everything. / That’s how the light gets in.”?

15. How does this novel open up the inside world of families dealing with severe mental illness? What did you find surprising about the story? How do other books on the subject of mental illness that members of your group may have read compare to 72 Hour Hold?

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2012


    It took me a while to finish this book. I did enjoy it but it wasn't a page turner for me. I struggled to get through it but I did want to finish it. I gave it four stars because the author made me want to know what happened in the end. She shed a lot of light on the mentally ill.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2008

    A must for Parents with Bi-polar or similiar disorders

    Imagine gradually witnessing your child's daily behavior declining due to a mental illness. An illness your ex-husband wishes would go away. What does a mother do when the system fails her? Why? Because your adult child is no longer a minor and that young adult child can only be held for 72 HOURS. You pray that when you get your child back home from the 72 HOUR HOLD that perhaps a miracle has occured, but the drug use, and promiscious behavior- just keep spiraling out of control. So what does Keri 'mother' do? She looks for an unconventional way to get her daughter Trina some help. A unconventional method that leads Keri to literally have to steal her daughter back from these people with their 'questionable' methods for dealing with Trina's illness. Good reading, this book came out shortly after close friends lost their child to suicide. Special thanks to Ms. Campbell for characterizing a topic that we as African-Americans sometimes are afraid to discuss-mental illness. Bebe Moore Campbell, will always be one of my favorite female writers. Rest in Peace my sister..

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2007

    A wonderful work to leave behind

    If I'm not mistaken, this is the last book that the now late, Bebe Moore Campbell wrote and what a wonderful piece of work to leave as part of her literary legacy!! I suspect that on some level Ms. Campbell might have been writing from personal experiences, because Keri's pain and frustration was so real. As for Nicole's review of 'I really could care less', let's hope that you never have to experience the pain of having a mentally OR physically ill child for that matter. Maybe 'Ghetto Genre' is more your speed...just a thought.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2006


    An excellent story in which the author takes the reader down the pathway of mental illness. The suffering that Keri has to undergo is palpable and we weep with her as she traverses a complicated system full of 'mindless bureaucracy' to get help for her bi-polar daughter Trina. Several other intense subjects are dealt with admirably in this novel. The author must also be applauded for her writing style. I loved her descriptions and her metaphors of slavery ending the story nobly with a reference to Harriet Tubman. I was saddened to hear of this author's recent passing. She will live on in her work.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2006

    Honest insight into severe mental illness

    An absolutely riveting story a wonderful decription of the way mental illness impacts a family. The plot takes some unexpected twists and turns, but this serves to make it all the more exciting.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2006


    Bebe Moore Campbell is obviously a very talented, gifted author. This was the first book of hers that I have read, and it was quite a journey for me. I had a difficult time putting it down. I could relate to Trina's character as a bipolar. One of my former acquaintances endured this mental disorder, and I got to see firsthand what it was like for that person to live that way with the manic highs and lows, emotional drops, the unprovoked tears and crying spells, etc. I symphatized, but at the time I had such a limited knowledge of this mental disease. Having read Ms. Campbell's book has enlightened me to a great degree. Her writing is very strong. There are a few misdirects along the way, as the storyline tends to waver off course a bit. This is the only issue that I would make of this otherwise creative, honest outlook on the topic at hand. 72-Hour Hold taught me a personal lesson in regards to the character Trina. As I continued reading and getting closer to the end of the book I somehow imagined her healing and doing all the things she was capable of doing in her normal state of mind. However, something more important than this occurred...Kerri was able to accept and continue loving her mentally ill daughter as a human being, not trying to change her into something she would never be. The very few last pages demonstrated the fact that Kerri was at peace with the situation and could move forward. She wasn't giving up on her daughter or her treatment, but Kerri developed a deeper understanding that some things in life we just cannot change completely. We use the tools given to us and learn to work with them. That's exactly what she did for her daughter Trina.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2005


    I finished 72 Hour Hold in the wee hours of the morning and was left breathless. Keri Whitmore, a single parent, is the owner of a successful upscale 'second-hand' boutique. Her teen-age daughter, Trina is not only beautiful, but smart-as-a-whip. She's been accepted to Brown University, but when she begins to exhibit signs of emotional instability and is hospitalized, she's unable to attend. Trina's bipolar diagnosis has derailed both her own as well as her mother's life. Clyde, Keri's ex-husband and Trina's father has always been there for Trina, however, he's in denial about her mental illness and believes Keri is being overly dramatic in her quest to seek treatment for their daughter. He refuses to believe there's anything wrong with his perfect daughter and assumes an advesarial role, thus Keri is forced to endure the emotional and physical abuse inflicted upon her by Trina alone. When on medication, Trina is able to function. She's childlike and clearly not her usual self, but when she's not taking her meds, she's erratic, violent, and promiscuous among other awful behaviors. Keri wavers between being hopeful that Trina will go back to normal and being terrified that her child will go mad again. Monitoring Trina is all-consuming and Keri's life is on hold. Embarrassed by Trina's diagnosis and behaviors, Keri has dropped her former friends--and has developed new relationships with people she's met in family group therapy sessions. 'I'm taking my meds' is Trina's mantra. However, this is rarely the case for very long and when she's not taking her meds, Trina is a danger to herself and others. Throughout the ordeal, Keri compares her situation to slavery and this reader found these comparisons sad but wickedly humorous. Bebe Moore Campbell has written a poignant and riveting story that I found hard to put down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Four and a Half Stars!

    This book exceded my expectations. Based on this work, I'm convinced that Bebe Moore Campbell's true calling is to be a writer. The imagery in this piece is wonderful. Campbell is able to be descriptive with a minimal amount of words. This allowed the plot to have a smoother flow. Moreover, the plot was artfully intertwined with various sidebars which added to rather than detract from the storyline. The story does not have actual closure. This is by design. The author wanted to make the point that mental illness in reality does not have closure. This novel has unexpected qualities. It is dramatic, moving, suspenseful and touching. The analogy she makes between the slavery of African Americans and mental illness successfully accentuates her message. This analogy can be appreciated by anyone. I like it. I do not love this tale enough to declare it a classic. I give it 4 and 1/2 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012


    This book was an excellent work of fiction about a true subject. I also wonder if it is loosely based about the author's daughter who suffers from mental disease.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    Slow to pick up

    The book was slow in the beginning & didn't hold my attention. It took me several times picking it up & putting it down. The story line was heart wrenching. I felt for Keri as she struggled 2 help her daughter & tried 2 have a life of her own. Half way through the book, it began 2 pick up & I wanted 2 know how their lives would end up. I would not say a must read but it is worth a try.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Excellent book

    The late great author Bebe Campbell Moore wrote this based
    on her own experiences with her own daughter, Hollywood actress Maia Campbell Moore, who has been seen in the media with her life spiraling out of controll because of this disease. I pray that this book will bring about awareness regarding mental illness and I pray for Maia Campbell.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012


    This novel was an easy read but did not have much depth. There are too many situations and relationships going on to be properly explained by the author with the allotted pages. The resolution to each problem and situation seems hurried and not properly thought out. I was quite disappointed with the ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2011

    good emotional reading

    Takes you into the world of mental illness. Shows how difficult it is for a mother stuggling to deal with a child's mental illness.

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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    Great read. Managing chaos and our own internal issues is a happy ending too. -- maxie

    Although psychic disordets are only managed, caregivers can have moments of order and peace. Savor those moments and not dwell on the what could have been. 'Each day has it's own rewards...'

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  • Posted March 20, 2011



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  • Posted November 3, 2010

    Highly recommended

    Loved the book and it open yours eyes if you havent really ever known how bi-polar people act. Its a book that I am glad to own...

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  • Posted March 28, 2010


    This book is one of the best I've read in a long time! The characters were complex and realistic, the storyline was captivating and touching, and the writing style is unique and adds to the story. I am a pretty slow reader and I was amazed at how I tore through this book. When I wasn't reading it, I was obsessing about what was going to happen next in the book. I gave the book to my roommate after I was finished, and she was as blown away by Campbell's talent as I was. I loved it! This is a must-read!

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  • Posted October 5, 2009

    Better than I expected

    This book started out a little boring but quickly picked up the pace and became an interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2006

    I really could care less

    I am a fan of Bebe Moore Campbells' work, but I really didn't like this book. I suffered through half of it and just quit b/c I kept forcing myself to read it. Perhaps I'm just not sympathetic to the topic, but after a while I felt like the mother was co-dependent and needed to let go. Maybe it got better and there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I didn't care enough about the characters to find out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2005

    Praises for Bebe

    Excellent book! In her most recent novel, Bebe has allowed readers a glimpse of what it's like to live with a loved one who has a mental illness. Wow, I had no idea. Thanks, Bebe for opening my eyes.

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