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Publisher's Summary

In this novel of family and redemption, a mother struggles to save her 18-year-old daughter from the devastating consequences of mental illness by forcing her to deal with her bipolar disorder. New York Times best-selling author Bebe Moore Campbell draws on her own powerful emotions and African-American roots, showcasing her best writing yet.

Trina suffers from bipolar disorder, making her paranoid, wild, and violent. Watching her child turn into a bizarre stranger, Keri searches for assistance through normal channels. She quickly learns that a 72 hour hold is the only help you can get when an adult child starts to spiral out of control. After three days, Trina can sign herself out of any program.

Fed up with the bureaucracy of the mental health community and determined to save her daughter by any means necessary, Keri signs on for an illegal intervention. The Program is a group of radicals who eschew the psychiatric system and model themselves after the Underground Railroad. When Keri puts her daughter's fate in their hands, she begins a journey that has her calling on the spirit of Harriet Tubman for courage. In the upheaval that follows, she is forced to confront a past that refuses to stay buried, even as she battles to secure a future for her child.

Bebe Moore Campbell's moving story is for anyone who has ever faced insurmountable obstacles and prayed for a happy ending, only to discover she'd have to reach deep within herself to fight for it.

©2005 Bebe Moore Campbell (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Powerful....Moore Campbell is terrific at describing the different emotional gradations produced by each new circle of hell." (Publishers Weekly) "Campbell is masterful at evoking black Los Angeles and creating strong characters. She bravely confronts a taboo issue in the black community, presenting the anguishing issues of mental illness from the perspective of a resilient and determined mother." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Kevin
  • Maplewood, NJ, USA
  • 11-27-05

Very interesting book on mental health...

This was by no means what I was expecting when I started this book, but i can't seem to stop listening. This books explores the health care system for the mentally ill as well as the unspoken depths of mother's pain for a child with this illness.

This is really a good book. It's not for the faint of heart.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Exceptional book

Normally I listen to audiobooks on my daily commute, but this one also came into the house with me. I really couldn't put it down. The story is fascinating - like another reviewer, I now feel as though my eyes have been opened just a bit to the experiences of parents of a child withh a mental disorder. Ms. Campbell's style and ability to choose the absolute perfect words to express each thought absolutely floored me - it reminded me of the incredibly evocative way James Baldwin described his young life in "Go Tell It On the Mountain." And the reader? I hope she continues to narrate audiobooks because she really made the words come to life. Definitely a five-star book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • shyronda
  • ellenwood, GA, United States
  • 02-22-12

A Must Read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you could sum up 72 Hour Hold in three words, what would they be?


What was one of the most memorable moments of 72 Hour Hold?

The way she spoke to her mother and told she hated her, she was not her mother.

Which character – as performed by Pamella D'Pella – was your favorite?

The Mother

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

72 Hour hold!!

Any additional comments?

I could have not gotten this book at a better time. I have a step brother who has problems and it allowed me to deal with him better and understand is state of mind better.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • Buzzards Bay, MA, United States
  • 04-06-11

Well written, accurate and heartbreaking account!

Ms. Campbell's account of the struggle of not only her daughter afflicted with bipolar syndrome, but herself as caregiver, is powerful, accurate and well written. I was deeply moved by Ms. Campbell's frustration and valiant effort to get help for her daughter.Anyone who has experienced a condition such as her daughter or acted as caregiver for a person with a serious medical condition will see themselves in this excellent book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Intense, incredible, excellant

This audiobook had it all. A great writer, a compelling story and a terrific reader. I agree that the subject is heavy and it was worth every minute of my time. I haven't stopped thinking about 72 Hour Hold. It has increased my compassion for parents of mentally ill children and for individuals who have mental illness or a brain disease as Ms. Campbell puts it. I highly reccomend this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Debbie
  • High Bridge, NJ, USA
  • 01-03-06


This story grabs your attention and is told with great inflection and tones. Got totally lost in this, in a time when I needed distraction! Very glad I chose this.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jo
  • Renton, WA, United States
  • 03-24-10

Thank You Mrs. Cambell

Sad to understand what the author had to deal with as a mother of a child with mental illness. Once again she creates a story and characters that make the reader care. I could not give the book five stars only because of the reader. She's terrible when taking on the voices of the other characters. Instead of drawing you into the story she abruptly pulls you out. I will add the paper version to my library.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent listen

My entire family (7-36) listened to this book on a road trip. Be warned, though, that there are some bad words and disturbing tales. However, the book kept the interest of the entire family and sparked conversation about mental illness and its effects on people and families. Another wonderful work by Ms. Campbell and one that gives us a bit more understanding, and hopefully compassion, about the flight of those dealing with mental illness.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great for your Library

This is an excellent book. I chose this book to kick off My book club (Literary Ladies). We were all pleased. Although the book is categorized as fiction, several ladies in the book club could relate to the very real experiences Trina and Keri endured. I thank Ms. Campbell for inviting us into her world and sharing the trials and tribulations of a very real and serious mental disorder.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Robin
  • Charlotte, nc, United States
  • 05-04-12

The broken mental health system

What made the experience of listening to 72 Hour Hold the most enjoyable?

I thought this book accurately portrayed the frustration that families of the mentally ill endure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful