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Submitted Literature

72 Hour Hold

By Bebe Moore Campbell


Campbell’s novel examines the reality of both having a daughter with Bi-Polar Affective Disorder and problems within the structure of the American mental health system.  The struggles that the mother faces lead her to take radical action in order to keep her daughter safe and enable the treatment she desperately needs. Moore Campbell creates a text that is a useful and very readable examination of the disparity between medically-based and alternative treatments of mental illness, showing positives and negatives of both sides.

Key Themes:

  • Addiction
  • Bipolar Affective Disorder
  • Carer Issues
  • Childhood / Adolescence
  • Revealing Reads

Significant Quotes / Pages

39 – “My daughter’s smile was bright and expectant, manipulative.  Regardless of what it had taken away, mental illness had conveyed to her a kind of protracted childhood, a long pause filled with delusions of grandeur, and no responsibility, very few apologies, and endless adventure.  And to me it should have bequeathed and elastic sense of gratitude for life’s most miniscule concessions: My daughter was standing right in front of me; I didn’t have to go looking for her.  Instead, I felt anxious. When is she going to get back to normal?

126 – “She measured my will with her eyes and then took the pills from my hand.  But Trina wasn’t hollering uncle.  I watched her put the medicine in her mouth and take a swallow of water.  The antipsychotic was a knockout punch and I’d given Trina double dose, but by 3 a.m. she was still awake.  Noise from the television and her CD player drifted through the house.  The light on the telephone didn’t go off.  Trina stayed awake all that night, talking, laughing, singing, dancing, smoking cigarettes and weed.  I was awake to: locking up the wine and champagne, hiding the sharp knives, writing my things-to-do list:

1. Turn off long-distance service.

2. Turn off DIRECTV service.

3. Make sure batteries in fire detectors are working.

 I was busy.  Listening.  Anticipating. This will go on and on and on.”

Reference: Bebe Moore, Campbell. 2005. 72 Hour Hold. New York: Anchor Books, 2006


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Friday 20th March 2009