‘Take My Hand’ – Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Inspired by events in Montgomery in 1973, Take my Hand focuses on the story of Civil Townsend, a young nurse, who is determined to do her best to help those patients she is hired to help. Told in two time frames, we follow Civil as she brings about a landmark case.

In the past period, Civil is shocked when one of her first outreach cases involves giving contraceptive injections to two children. Children who have not even been kissed. Worried about the risks associated with an unlicensed injection, Civil takes it upon herself to make a difference and – sadly – her meddling comes to have monumental consequences for the girls and their family.

Following Civil through her work was troubling. It was clear that something awful was brewing, but I really wasn’t prepared for the revelation that Civil’s clinic was carrying out enforced sterilisations. Even more upsetting was learning that this had really happened!

This was a book that packed a powerful punch. While Civil may not have always acted in the way you might expect, her heart was in the right place and the impact her actions had cannot be underestimated.