Take My Hand (Large Print / Library Binding)

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Staff Reviews

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is historical fiction that addresses a still very relevant topic -- women's reproductive rights, and it does so in a very personal way.  Set in 1973 and 2016, the book is based on the true story of forced sterilizations performed by the US government primarily on poor women of color .I loved that the nuances of 1970's Alabama were well depicted --not just the racism and poverty that is well known but also the better educated and prosperous black community.    The nature of the topic has a forceful emotional and psychological impact.

— Beth

April 2022 Indie Next List

“Dolen Perkins-Valdez has a gift. Take My Hand sheds light on the long history of forced sterilization of African American women and introduces the incredible Civil Townsend, whose compassion I see in Black women doctors in my own life.”
— Morgan Harding, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC


"Deeply empathetic yet unflinching in its gaze... an unforgettable exploration of responsibility and redemption, the dangers of good intentions, and the folly of believing anyone can decide what's best for another's life."--Celeste Ng

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, Erica and India, are children--just eleven and thirteen 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.

About the Author

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of Wench and Balm. She was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction, and was awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the ALA.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781432896058
ISBN-10: 1432896059
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Publication Date: May 25th, 2022
Pages: 527
Language: English