In 2016, Dr. Civil Townsend decides it’s time to tell her daughter Anne about a pivotal event that shaped her life. Told in flashbacks as a mother speaks to her daughter, Civil’s emotional and heartbreaking story takes place in 1973. As a young nurse, Civil takes a job at the Montgomery, Alabama Family Planning Clinic. As a young Black woman, Civil is anxious to help the poor girls and women of the community. Her first case sends her to the farmhouse of the Williams family. She discovers that Erica, age 13 and India, age 11 are being given birth control, which is alarming given their ages. And more shocking is her discovery that the shots they have received could be dangerous. The sisters are living in poverty with their father and grandmother, who cannot read or write, have been too trusting of the people sent to supposedly help them. As Civil tries to help the family, she finds herself involved in not only their plight but an even greater effort to reform reproductive rights across the country.
Author Dolen Perkins-Valdez has created an incredibly moving story inspired by real-life sisters and their court case. Take My Hand will shake you to the core. It reveals a shameful chapter of American history from the not-so-distant past when forced sterilization of poor, mostly Black young women, ruined countless lives. While stories of racism and prejudice are difficult to read, they are important and need to be told.
Many thanks to Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this unforgettable book in advance of its release.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: April 12, 2022.
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