Heart Berries: A Memoir

Heart Berries: A Memoir


Selected by Emma Watson as the Our Shared Shelf Book Club Pick for March/April 2018

"Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small... What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined." ―Roxane Gay, author of Hunger

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. 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.

With an Introduction by Sherman Alexie and an Afterword by Joan Naviyuk Kane.

"A sledgehammer. . . . Her experiments with structure and language . . . are in the service of trying to find new ways to think about the past, trauma, repetition and reconciliation, which might be a way of saying a new model for the memoir." ―Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"I am quietly reveling in the profundity of Mailhot’s deliberate transgression in Heart Berries and its perfect results. I love her suspicion of words. I have always been terrified and in awe of the power of words – but Mailhot does not let them silence her in Heart Berries. She finds the purest way to say what she needs to say... [T]he writing is so good it’s hard not to temporarily be distracted from the content or narrative by its brilliance...Perhaps, because this author so generously allows us to be her witness, we are somehow able to see ourselves more clearly and become better witnesses to ourselves." ―Emma Watson, Official March/April selection for Our Shared Shelf

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Title:Heart Berries: A Memoir
Edition Language:English
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Heart Berries: A Memoir Related Books

    Heart Berries: A Memoir Reviews

  • Roxane

    Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here, is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small. She writes of mo...

  • Emily May

    You should have thought before you made a crazy Indian woman your lover. It took me a while to settle into the rhythm of Mailhot's writing in Heart Berries. It’s very poetic, dreamy and beautiful, ...

  • Hannah

    I don’t think I have the words. I have been trying and failing to write a proper review for days. This book has rendered me speechless, so this will be a super short review.Terese Mailhot packs an u...

  • Janet

    Terese Marie Mailhot’s poetic, shapeshifting memoir Heart Berries, a series of tiny impressionistic essays of self-exploration into the very roots of trauma and madness, is as impossible to describe...

  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    A book written by the indigenous, for the indigenous, Heart Berries is a raw, heart-breaking and sobering memoir of what it means to grow up as a poor, abused, robbed of her own culture native Ame...

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This memoir is unnerving from the very beginning. Rather than going back in time or providing some background, it starts with a letter to a boyfriend from a mental treatment center, full of emotions. ...

  • Kathleen

    My review from the Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifesty...Sherman Alexie’s introduction to Terese Marie Mailhot’s debut memoir, “Heart Berries,” is incandescent with glowing ...

  • Chelsea Bryan

    Heart Berries was relentlessly interesting on an intellectual, emotional and stylistic level, and painful to read. The way the plot moved and things got communicated was enigmatic and moving in a way ...

  • Krystal

    This poetic memoir deconstructs Indigenous stereotypes, as Terese Marie Mailhot disrupts what her narrative should look like, re-imagining personal sovereignty on her own terms!...

  • Riva Sciuto

    "You think weakness is a problem. I want to be torn apart by everything. My people cultivated pain. In the way that god cultivated his garden with the foresight that he could not contain or protect th...