Bebe Moore Campbell knows about mental illness. The New York Times bestselling author of Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir and What You Owe Me has witnessed the problem in her own family, which inspired her to become a founding member of her local Los Angeles chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Campbell has taken her concern one step further in her latest work, 72 Hour Hold, which takes the rare opportunity to examine the problem in the African-American community. The story focuses on the single mother Keri, who after being continually frustrated by the public-health bureaucracy turns to radical options to help treat her teenage daughter Trina, who suffers from bipolar disorder. In a fitting parallel, the group that Keri seeks out is so radical it's modeled after the old Underground Railroad. "Campbell ... transforms one mother's heartbreaking dilemma into a compassionate and suspenseful story that reverberates long after the final chapter is over," Kirkus Reviews wrote in its review. Campbell is in town for this weekend's Essence Music Festival. She will sign copies of her books along with author Eric Jerome Dickey on Friday at the Afro-American Book Shop. She will appear at an Empowerment Seminar at 1 p.m. Saturday, and at 4 p.m. will sign copies of the book at the festival.
4 p.m. Friday, July 1
Afro-American Book Shop, New Orleans Centre, 1400 Poydras St., 915-4782