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Publisher's Summary

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 us 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.

©2018 Terese Marie Mailhot; Introduction copyright 2018 by Sherman Alexie; Afterword copyright 2018 by Joan Naviyuk Kane (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"To read this book is to engage with one of our very best minds at work." (Toni Jensen, author of From the Hilltop)

"Rainy Fields narrates this deeply original memoir in solemn tones that suit the work.... Mailhot wrote some passages initially as fiction, but says they're now 'bound together and retold as truth.' Fields steadily, surely makes that truth available to listeners." (AudioFile)  

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dark, Poetic, Gripping

Heart Berries is unique not only in its subject matter, but also its style and structure. Mailhot has the soul of a poet and the mind of a fighter. She writes in stream of consciousness with a non linear plot. While gritty and brutally honest at times, there is also a lot of humor which illustrates the rich and complex person she is. While short in length, it’s not a fast read and definitely deserves a re-read for all the subtle details I probably missed the first time around. I highly recommend!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

This “memoir” reads as an angry spiteful letter to an ex boyfriend blaming him for all of her problems. I mean this literally. I got half way through the book, always waiting for it to turn into a memoir. Nope. Just a hateful letter placing blame on her ex for all of her problems. I purchased it after seeing it recommended on the daily show. I returned it for my credit back, absolutely a total waste of time. I only gave it two overall stars because the narrator was satisfactory, not her fault it was a terrible book.

1 of 9 people found this review helpful