Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Title: Take My Hand

Author: Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Publisher: Berkley

Published: April 12, 2022

ASIN: B0998ZCQTK

Pages: 367

I have little time to read for leisure, so it excited me to squeeze in this gem.

Civil Townsend was a nurse at the Family Planning Clinic in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1973. Erica (thirteen) and India (eleven) were assigned to her case. As their nurse, Civil is to administer the Depo-Provera birth control shots.

This shocks Civil as the girls are still very young, have never been sexually active, and little India is not only mute but has yet to start her cycle. 

The Williams sisters are being raised by their father and grandmother, both illiterate, their mom having passed on. Their living conditions in rural Alabama are not fit for any human to live.

Take My Hand is a powerful historical fiction novel that tells the story of the Eugenics Movement that led to the involuntary sterilization of Black women in the twentieth century. This sterilization continued in many states until as late as the 1970s.

Eugenics, from the Greek word eugenes, was a term coined by Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin. It was a racist scientific idea that only those “well-born” or with “good” genes should be allowed to reproduce. This was a fancy way of controlling the Black population, which meant that at the center of eugenicists’ agenda were Black women.

“We don’t allow dogs to breed. We spay them. We neuter them. We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children.” 

Barbara Harris, Founder of Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity (CRACK),
C. 1990

Although Erica and India are fictional characters, they represent the many actual women who experienced this form of lynching. In August 1964, the North Carolina Eugenics Board met to decide if a 20-year-old Black woman should be sterilized. 

She was a single mother with one child who lived at the segregated O’Berry Center for African American adults with intellectual disabilities in Goldsboro. According to the North Carolina Eugenics Board, the woman (whose name was redacted from the records) was said to exhibit “aggressive behavior and sexual promiscuity.” She had been orphaned as a child and had a limited education. The board determined she was not capable of rehabilitation.

Take My Hand also mentions The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (1932-1972) and the Roe vs. Wade decision (‘73). You can tell by how Valdez brings it out that she fully intends to educate her readers on these events. As the characters are learning, so are we. 

The story opens in 2016 and is told from the perspective of an elderly Civil traveling back to Alabama to visit an adult but sick India. The story goes back and forth between 1973 and 2016.

This is a book about racism, sexism, classism, poverty, and white privilege.

But it is also a story of strength.

Although heartbreaking, I find the book well-written and historically accurate.

Ratings

Plot Movement / Strength: 5/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 1) by Yvette M Calleiro

Title: The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 1)

Author: Yvette M Calleiro

Print Length: 310 pages

Publisher: Yvette M. Calleiro

Publication Date: January 25, 2014

 

Sophia’s life is normal for a seventeen-year-old. She is finishing her last year of High School and dating her best friend even though the relationship lacks passion. What’s full of passion is Sophia’s dreams, where she meets a sexy young man named Ar’ch (R-rick). When he shows up at the restaurant Sophia waitresses at though, she is taken aback. How is it possible that the man in her dreams can show up in real life? The truth is Ar’ch is not a man, but a Diasodz. The Diasdoz are creatures created by the Goddess to protect and heal humans. According to the story, when God created humans, the Goddess created the Diasodz (Die-ah-sodz).

I enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to reading book two. The story maintains a good pace, and the author keeps us in suspense just long enough to reveal snippets of the truth about Sophia and her true identity. Sophia is also a Diasodz and Ar’ch and his brother Angel has returned to take her back so she can fulfill the prophecy that foretold of a girl born on Earth who would save their kind.

I like to read poetry, historical fiction, memoirs, and self-help but I have a secret love affair for Sci-Fi-, Fantasy, and Thriller books too (my first published novel was a Sci-Fi thriller), but they have to be good for me to deviate from my usual and this one was a nice diversion.

I like that the author doesn’t pour revelations out at one time but revealed when necessary as the story progressed (like through dialogue). I noticed some minor errors, and the book is a bit lengthier than I think it needs to be but it didn’t distract me from the story.

The author is creative in distinguishing the Diasodz from humans which makes this a fun read as we learn about their powers, the difference in time between their world and Earth and see their powers manifested through Ar’ch and Angel. The Diasodz reminds me of the Watcher angels spoken about in some biblical books such as The Book of Enoch who was charged with the duty of watching over mankind.

This is a fiction novel but I actually do believe there is a parallel universe we cannot see, a spiritual world, alongside our physical one. I believe there are things that happen on the physical but also the spirtual except we can’t physically see the spiritual so I loved the part when Ar’ch and Angel were fighting the deminions (lower-level demons) but to Sophia it looked like they were staring at the fountain.

I look forward to learning more about the Diasodz, the Goddess, and more about Valorie and Nolan and what the other world is like. I want to know what Damiana and Drake are really up to and if Mel had a greater role than being Sophia’s best friend. What was she doing at the Main Street Fountain, anyway? And I don’t believe what she said to Sophia about that phone conversation either. I wonder if she was talking to someone else. Her constant proclamations about how she’s there for Sophia just seems kinda fake, so I wonder if there’s something else going on. And what’s with Sophia’s mom Liana staying behind? Something smells kinda fishy and I’m excited to find out.

I wanted to read a later book in the series but I’m glad I started at the beginning!

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

The One Discovered is book one in a five part series and the first two books are free!


Disclaimer: My book review registry is still closed. These are reviews of books I have read on my own. To learn more about my registry be sure to visit the Blog Book Review Policy page here.