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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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What listeners say about Heart Berries

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  • Overall
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Heart Berries, what a gift!

Terese Marie Mailhot' s unique voice reminds me of a Weaver, going back and forward, answering questions and flushing out memories. Through the eyes of a perfectly flawed human being who's actively searching and finding little healing moments, we find the gift she gives us as readers/listeners; Hope! Thank you

7 people found this helpful

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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!

6 people found this helpful

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Tries to Force Readers to be Impressed

If you can survive bland poetics over self-involved romanticism then you'll do great with this audio book. I forced myself to finish all the way to the bitter end. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard. There is NO STORY. It's a jumble of excuses. She starts the memoir with an excuse for herself--by way of her mental health issues and her trauma--and then she gives readers how neglectful she was to her child. Then at the end she tries to CONVINCE readers she wanted to be honest about herself. You don't say "Feel sorry for me," and then say, "I hurt my kid," and then believe readers aren't savvy enough to discern the martyrdom gimmick of victim-saint (two dimensional character development--which means NO character development). This is a long excuse letter to her kid. It's not even an act of accountability. Her self-serving need to perform victimhood for fame completely dismisses any genuine desire to be accountable. She cares about herself--and that's it. The way the memoir ends speaks VOLUMES to how self-absorbed she is. It's so absurd to hear her recount a thesis defense of the memoir she wrote. I kept laughing as the final minutes and seconds of the memoir counted down. She's screaming--begging--the reader to be convinced she is brilliant. LOL. It's so funny. More or less, she's saying to the audience, "You're going to love me because I'm so much smarter than you." LOL. I honestly do not know how this book got published. The industry must be desperate for Native narratives. Then she strokes Sherman Alexie throughout the memoir. He sexually manipulated female Native writers and was taken down by the #MeToo Movement. Why in the world would she stroke him like that throughout the book? For fame? This is sad for Native women. Mailhot has done a disservice to female Native writers in the industry. Where's the solidarity? The performance was good but the story itself was miserable and I finished it because I had to. Save yourself from wasting your money. You won't finish the book. I've had friends who couldn't finish the book, who couldn't get passed the first chapter.

5 people found this helpful

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Truth-telling at its finest

It was sometimes difficult to learn of Mailhot’s difficult life, but I saw similarities to my life as an Indigenous woman. I appreciated her courage in being at times brutally honest. It was difficult to stop listening. I loved how it almost read like a poem. I look forward to reading more from Mailhot. #IndigenousAuthors #NativeWriter #heartberries #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

4 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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beautiful, sad, raw, relatable

this was an excellent read, the author is unique and create very relatable imagery. I highly recommend for anyone!

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The Indian that awoke on the Mountain words.

Had to rewind many times just to hear the poetry of her voice that created the story of her days.

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Difficult, but worth reading

Heart Berries- a difficult read, but the struggles she faced need to be heard. Truly.

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  • AB
  • 08-24-18

Beautifully written but too short

While I thought that the writing was beautiful and the content of the book and the perspective of the author was interesting and so needed (I'm curious to learn more and read from Native writers and their stories), I didn't love the flow of the book. It was a bit confusing at times and honestly I think it was too short. I wanted her to dive in and give me more insight and knowledge on the stories and I think it ended too soon and abruptly.

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Beautiful

This is a powerful story, excellent writing, and definitely one I will come back to again.

1 person found this helpful