Heart Berries

A Memoir

    • 4.4 • 5 Ratings
    • $11.99
    • $11.99

Publisher Description

A powerful, poetic memoir of an Indigenous woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest—this New York Times bestseller and Emma Watson Book Club pick is “an illuminating account of grief, abuse and the complex nature of the Native experience . . . at once raw and achingly beautiful (NPR).

Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder, Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.

Biographies & Memoirs
February 6
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

indigobookshelf ,

One of the best memoirs I’ve ever read

I just finished this memoir, which is so incredibly moving—I don’t think I’ve read a memoir like this since Angela‘s Ashes. It left me in tears. The language is so alive it gave me chills.

This is a story of overcoming. Overcoming abuse, child abuse, abuse from both parents, neglect, trauma, mental illness and suicide. And trying, trying so hard to find a way out of it all. It’s a story of hope, hope through the craft of writing and hope through our children. Terese’s story is one of an indigenous woman trying to find her path while up against so many barriers, sex, prejudice, judgment and taboo.

I loved the experimental form of this memoir. It’s written almost like a poem, at times in stream of consciousness, other times in vignettes. Her style reminded me of so many writers, Woolf, Plath, Elliot and Duras.

Heart Berries is one of the most moving and powerfully written memoirs I’ve come across. Read in one sitting, it left me shaken, stirred. It’s what a great writer can do, tapping into something incredibly powerful and universal and sharing it through great artistry and skill.

“I spend hours convincing myself that no child is ruined— and the one inside of me is worth remembering fondly. My mother’s looming spirit guides me some days, telling me that nothing is too ugly for this world. I am not too ugly for this world.”

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