Book Review: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez


Title: Take My Hand

By: Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 320

Release Date: April 12th, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

Rating: ★★★★★


Summary from Goodreads:

Inspired by true events that rocked the nation, a profoundly moving novel about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible wrong done to her patients, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wench.

Montgomery, Alabama 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.

But when her first week on the job takes her down a dusty country road to a worn down one-room cabin, she’s shocked to learn that her new patients are children—just 11 and 13 years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica and their family into her heart. Until one day, she arrives at the door to learn the unthinkable has happened and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.

Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find her peace and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten. That must not be forgotten.

Because history repeats what we don’t remember. 


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The amount of emotions this story produced leaves me raw. I hate that this story has to exist. That its based in realty, but the story needs to be told and the author did just that, and beautifully so. 

Civil Townsend has a good head on her shoulders. She is an amazing character that is so full of life and the will to make things right. I applaud her push, even when it meant her job in uncertain times and criticism from her community and the country as this story went beyond her small town. 

The author's writing style is smooth and wonderful, bringing color to the world she built. I really enjoyed reading this story, even when it was a hard subject. A wonderfully written portrayal of history that was swept under the rug.    

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. 

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