Heart Berries

Heart Berries

A Memoir

Book - 2018
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"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."--
Publisher: Berkeley, California :, Counterpoint,, [2018]
ISBN: 9781619023345
Branch Call Number: 362.1968521 M219M
Characteristics: xvi, 142 pages ; 21 cm


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May 18, 2018

Not giving this a number rating because I think I either just didn't "get it", or, maybe I wasn't the right audience for this book. Mailhot's story is so important in a culture which often silences or ignores Indigenous voices and she certainly can craft a sentence - a few hit me like a punch to the gut. But still, I couldn't connect, couldn't follow along, so the style just didn't work for me. But I would say if you are at all curious, it is worth giving it a try.

May 09, 2018

This book cracked me open - it's such a bravely, beautifully, precisely written story of working through trauma and being a child and a mother and Native woman.

May 03, 2018

Difficult subject matter, but beautifully written. Paragraphs are poetry. A book to immerse yourself in and let it flow over you, like Seabird Island in the river. Her elegy to her mother is particularly beautiful and blatant at the same time. I enjoyed the use of recurring themes as well.

Cynthia_N Apr 13, 2018

Powerful book! A little too raw at times.

Mar 25, 2018

Highly distinctive and personal prose. Valuable contribution to the genre.

debwalker Mar 24, 2018

Going huge in the US. A breakthrough for indigenous literature.

KCLSEmilyC Jan 04, 2018

"Salish stories are a lot like its art: sparse and interested in blank space. The work must be striking."

This is an incredible, searing memoir - there's not a word wasted in Mailhot's frank and unflinching portrayal of her childhood, her relationships, and her struggles with bipolar disorder. It's less a chronicle of "what happened" and more a glimpse into the author's tumultuous interior life, captured in vivid, ferocious prose. Sparse and striking indeed.

KCLSJessica Dec 29, 2017

After being hospitalized and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and bipolar II disorders, Terese begins to recount her stories in a notebook, writing her way out of trauma. In the moving and poetic memoir produced from these writings, Terese explores coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest, uncovers the source of a suppressed childhood trauma, attempts to find closure with her abuser/artist father, memorializes her social worker/activist mother, and recounts the feelings and impressions of loving and longing for someone while working through issues with shame and distrust. Luxuriously turned phrases make this work of a wounded romantic a heartbreaking pleasure to read. Recommended for fans of Elisa Washuta and Maggie Nelson.


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