Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is a powerful and eye-opening novel that addresses a disturbing piece of history. Set in 1973, it follows Civil Townsend, a newly graduated nurse who returns home to work at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic.
Her supervisor assigns her to give the Depo-Provera birth control shot to India and Erica Williams, who are only 11 and 13 years old. The girls have not yet reached puberty and are not sexually active, which leads Civil to question the motives behind her assignment. When Civil later learns the girls have been sterilized without their consent, she embarks on a legal battle against the clinic. The courtroom drama that unfolds is gripping and thought-provoking.
Perkins-Valdez skillfully uses a dual narrative, switching between an older Civil narrating events to her daughter in 2016, and a younger Civil experiencing the events in real-time.
Take My Hand is inspired by true events that rocked the nation and it opened my eyes to a casewith which I was unfamiliar. It’s a captivating read that skillfully blends disturbing elements with themes of love and forgiveness. As a reader, I was impressed by this impactful novel—it will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. 5 stars.
** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy of this novel. The opinions are my own.