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72 Hour Hold


72 Hour Hold Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. The novel is narrated from Keris 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 Trinas 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 Trinas illness as the novel proceeds, or does she continue to feel that in some sense, its “always Mommys 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 Keris history with her mothers alcoholism affect her approach to Trinas illness? In what ways is Keris 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 parents self esteem and social status? Does Keri eventually let go of these ideas? If so, how?

6. What is the effect of Campbells 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 Keris experience with her daughters mental illness is like the experience of slavery, does the novel yield any sense of liberation from this condition?How does Keris 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 Keris 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 daughters 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 Keris 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 Orlandos 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 Keris 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 Trinas performance [p. 318]? How is it related to the novels epigraph from a Leonard Cohen song: “Ring the bells that still can ring. / Forget your perfect offering. / There is a crack in everything. / Thats 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?

Product Details

Campbell, Bebe Moore
Anchor Books
Mothers and daughters
Manic-depressive persons
Domestic fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.14x5.28x.73 in. .57 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

72 Hour Hold Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Anchor Books - English 9781400033614 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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. Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Campbell's clearly trying to make a few specific points, but while doing so she's created a story that is universally touching."
"Review" by , "Stark, incisive and often harrowing, 72 Hour Hold brings the trauma of mental illness vividly to life. Campbell's characters are wholly believable, her tale, exceptionally well crafted."
"Review" by , "This is a wonderful, enlightening story told with the utmost tenderness and sensitivity."
"Review" by , "[T]he novel is as fast-paced as its title implies. And at no point did Campbell become preachy. She let her commanding storytelling pull me in, and she kept me riveted during this timely tale of a mother's roller coaster ride to hell and back."
"Review" by , "[72 Hour Hold] 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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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