Civil's father is a doctor, and she grew up in town in drastically different circumstances. She is horrified by their living situation. She is also shocked that she was instructed to give the depo provera birth control shot to them when they are so young. She is even more disturbed when she learns that the depo provera shot had caused cancer in some animal studies. Civil does what she can for the family, helping them move into a government-subsidized apartment, and finding their father, Mace, a job. Civil finds herself getting closer and closer to the family.
Then one day, Civil stops by the family's new apartment to find the children gone. Their grandmother tells Civil that a different nurse from the family planning clinic had taken them to the hospital in order to get their shots. Confused and alarmed, Civil hurries to the hospital to find Erica and India crying in pain at the hospital. Not given enough, if any, pain medication, they are recovering from a tubal ligation surgery.
Definitely the most emotional and disturbing part of the novel, these two young kids were dragged off to the hospital for a painful, invasive procedure that dramatically affects the rest of their lives. It was horrifying.
The rest of the novel is Civil coming to terms with the guilt of what happened and a lawsuit against the family planning clinic and the government agencies.
I really wanted to like this book, and I came into it with high expectations. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The book certainly kept my interest in the beginning, as I was trying to figure out what was happening. But by the second half, the worst had happened, and I was ready for the book to be done. The characters did not feel real to me, so it lacked some emotional punch it could have had. I was also not particularly interested in Civil and her family. I wish there had been more focus on the children and what happened to them as well as what was happening around the country. Instead, there was something of a romantic triangle that felt unnecessary and Civil trying to figure out her life.
In addition, Civil found herself loving Erica and India, but I found most of their interactions kind of disturbing. She didn't question them thoroughly at all before giving them the depo shot when she first met them. She cut their hair without asking their father or grandmother. And she didn't listen, dismissing Erica's feelings, when she said she needed to get away from Montgomery.
Halfway through, I wished I was reading a non-fiction account of what had actually happened instead of Take My Hand--because it wasn't doing much for me. I wish I could have liked this one more.