Picks and Pans Review: 72 Hour Hold

updated 08/01/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/01/2005 01:00AM

By Bebe Moore Campbel

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Only weeks before L.A. businesswoman Keri Whitmore is to send her only child, Trina, east to college, the girl, who suffers from bipolar disorder, goes into a tailspin—taking her meds sporadically and swinging between euphoria and depression. Several times Keri is forced to have her placed in a psychiatric facility on what's known as a 72 Hour Hold, a measure that's only temporarily effective. Hers is a daunting struggle, but ultimately Keri persuades mental-health authorities and her concerned but wary ex-husband to give Trina the long-term help she needs. While there's no mistaking Campbell's message—African-Americans must learn to accept mental illness as a serious, yet treatable, disease—her suspenseful story and determined heroine are what make the novel compelling.

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