Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reviews: Book Club books

In the last couple of months, my face-to-face book club has brought two very different, but excellent books to my attention. The first is 72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell. This is the story of Keri, a successful black business owner who gets caught up in a world she cannot control. It all starts when her 18-year-old daughter, Trina, starts to experience the uncontrolled mania of unmedicated bipolar disorder. Because Trina is an adult (even if just barely), mental health facilities can legally hold her for a maximum of 72 hours against her will. After 72 hours, she is released whether her medication is working or not. Eventually, frustrated with the system, Keri tries to go circumvent it in an expensive and ultimately unsatisfactory way. However, Keri's desperation to help her daughter came through loud and clear. So much so, in fact, that the book often read like a thriller. It was very compelling reading and I couldn't put it down to the very end. Excellent.

The other book recently picked by the book club was Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. This book is a fascinating look into the history of China thorough the eyes of the women in the author's family. The tale starts with Chang's grandmother, a warlord's concubine, moves through to her mother's experiences as an officer in the Communist Party, and ultimately on to Chang's own experiences as a young woman in China and her eventual settlement in England. The book is long, detailed, and completely absorbing. I didn't realize how much I didn't know about China until I read it. Also excellent.

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