Campbell (What You Owe Me, 2001, etc.) transforms one mother’s heartbreaking dilemma into a compassionate and suspenseful...

72 HOUR HOLD

Campbell’s provocative fourth novel explores our culture’s treatment of mental illness through the story of one mother’s desperate attempts to save her manic-depressive teenaged daughter.

Keri is the owner of a successful Los Angeles designer clothing resale shop. Her daughter Trina, headed to Brown on a National Merit scholarship, is diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 17 and put on medication. But Trina rebels against her mother’s rules, experiments with alcohol and marijuana, and won’t take her meds. Without them, she doesn’t sleep for days, becomes violent when her mother tries to restrain her, and runs away. When she turns 18, she can no longer be signed into the hospital for involuntary care. To protect her daughter, Keri calls the police. If they judge that Trina is a danger to herself or others, or is seriously disabled, she can be held against her will in a hospital’s mental ward for 72 hours. Each time this happens, Keri tries to get the hospital to extend the period so the medication that keeps Trina’s disorder under control can become effective, but usually she’s released at this point and goes back to her cycle of mania and depression. Meanwhile, the likable Keri has ongoing relationships with Orlando, an actor; his son, who trusts her enough to tell her he is gay before he is able to tell his parents; a support group for the loved ones of people with mental illnesses, and an ex-husband who puts work before family concerns and refuses to believe his daughter is ill. Through another suffering mother, Keri learns about an underground group of psychiatrists who “kidnap” patients like Trina, give them intensive therapy and save them from the most damaging effects of mental illness. Using Underground Railroad metaphors, Campbell describes Keri’s decision to make such an “intervention” and shows, through various twists and turns, how Keri and Trina change their lives.

Campbell (What You Owe Me, 2001, etc.) transforms one mother’s heartbreaking dilemma into a compassionate and suspenseful story that reverberates long after the final chapter is over.

Pub Date: July 5, 2005

ISBN: 1-4000-4074-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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