Read advance reader review of Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

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Take My Hand

by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez X
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
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  • Ashleigh P. (Round Hill, VA)
    As beautifully written as it is heartbreaking...
    Take My Hand is a gut-wrenching fictionalized account of the almost unbelievable Relf v. Weinberger case – a modern nightmare bathed in racism, sexism, elitism, and ableism. The government was funding the sterilization of young women, some minors, primarily BIPOC, and mostly without their explicit consent under the guise of public good. The story is told through a first person account of a wealthy black nurse, new to her career, and utterly horrified by what she witnesses on the job.

    The author, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, wrote such a compelling narrative that at times you forget who the first-person voice is because you feel what each character must be feeling so deeply. She has developed a thorough cast of characters to give a voice to this United States' atrocity. Her descriptions are raw, real and devoid of sugar-coating.

    This is a novel that you will not be able to put down. This is a novel that will make you sick to your stomach. This is a novel that will make you cry. It will keep you up at night. Take My Hand is as beautifully written as it is heartbreaking.
  • Maureen M. (Springfield, OH)
    Why was it allowed to happen?
    Take My Hand is a memorable, thought-provoking tale with characters you will care about. It is a piece of historical fiction that speaks to the creation of wrongful norms and how they are changed. The opening of this story gave me pause because I feared it was a story about abortion and pro-choice but that's not the case.

    Readers will come to know two young black sisters from Alabama who experienced a horrible injustice that took place in 1973…I was shocked to learn that kind of horrible wrong was allowed to happen as recently as 1973. Knowing that truth gave me deeper insight into the past and made me wonder how I would react to terrible injustices and daily disrespect. What kind of person would I be? A great read for book clubs!

    While the story will break your heart, it will also renew your faith through the main character's deep commitment to creating a better world.
  • Shey C. (Morristown, TN)
    Great historical fiction
    This book is heart wrenching. It is fiction but highlights the inequalities women if color face, this time in the healthcare system. It is beautifully written, and stresses the importance of remembering the past.
  • Sheila B. (Danvers, MA)
    An Important Story From the Jim Crow South
    Take My Hand tells an important, and sadly, still timely story of the inequality and unevenness of how poor, uneducated minorities are treated in the USA. Written from the perspective of a privileged young black recent graduate of nursing school during the tumultuous '60s, and her experience with two young girls whose dirt poor illiterate guardians are taken advantage of and used for medical experimentation. Assumptions and decisions are made for them that have permanent life altering effects. Reminiscent of the Henrietta Lacks story, this book will educate you and stay with you for a long time to come.
  • Jennie W. (Denver, CO)
    Must Read
    Take My Hand is a must read. It delves into the history of forced sterilization on young, poor, black women. Based on true events, the author does an amazing job of bringing this real history to life. The story is told through the eyes of Civil Townsend, a young, black nurse who becomes entwined in her two patients' lives. The two sisters become more than just patients, they become family to Civil and she takes it upon herself to help them in more ways than even she thought possible. The book is split between 1973 and 2016 as Civil tells the story to her daughter. The only criticism I would have is that the 2016 story does not have as much emotion as the 1973 story. But this could be intentional, as Civil tends to keep her feelings bottle up inside.
  • Jo S. (Tonganoxie, KS)
    Betrayed
    This book is written in a profound way that makes it heartbreaking yet hopeful, and will make you dig deep and explore uncomfortable truths about America and racism. The premise is of a Black Nurse who eventually discovers a terrible injustice done to her patients and fights for the truth to be known. The tragedy of our nation's shameful medical abuse of POC, class and socioeconomic level, especially women, is laid bare here. However, there are threads of hope that pull you along the storyline without diminishing the significance of the damage that has been perpetrated in these communities. It begs the reader to think about how relevant the mistrust in our society's public health initiatives with POC is after being Betrayed so many times in the past and who are still being misrepresented in disproportionate ways today.

    Book clubs will love this book as it really invites deep thought and discussions about medical ethics and institutional racism. Anyone who enjoys truthful historical fiction will like this hard hitting and well written book for the warm characters and the unapologetic descriptions of past US medical abuses.

    My only criticism was I felt the main character who played the black nurse often overstepped her authority on people she was trying to help, but thinking back now, maybe that was the authors intention as she in her own way was privileged in income and opportunity compared to the community she served. It seemed she blindly overstepped on the freedom of choice of the very people she was trying to help.
    People who like this book would probably also enjoy reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

    I give this book 5 outstanding stars and wish to Thank BookBrowse and Berkeley publishing for the digital copy on NetGalley of this ARC. This opinions are all my own without any other compensation.
  • Anke V. (Portland, OR)
    Take My Hand, a gem of a book
    Inspired by true events, Take My Hand is a profoundly moving novel that moves between 2016 and 1973. Civil Townsend is a black nurse in 1970's Montgomery Alabama working at the Family Planning Clinic whose patients were mostly from poor black families. When Civil begins questioning whether India and Erica, just 11 and 13 years old, actually need birth control, she's reprimanded by the clinic's director. She also soon discovers that the non-FDA approved birth control (Depo-Provera) she is giving to the very young girls is controversial since it has shown links to cancer development. Throughout the chapters she worries about the young girls as if they were her own, even when the unthinkable has happens. Many years later, Civil needs to make peace with what happened forty some years earlier and retelling the story to her daughter Anne will hopefully bring it. Take My Hand is a well written, compelling, absorbing and captivating novel, were the protagonists refuse to be forgotten. Thank you Bookbrowse for the opportunity to read and review this advanced reader's copy of this book!

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