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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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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

6 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!

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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

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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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Beautiful

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

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Vulnerable and relatable

This was a pretty vulnerable and graphic depiction of mental health. It was poetically written and extremely well done. This was so personal and an interesting read if you want to read more indigenous peoples stories.

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truthful memoir

I've heard authors speak about their objectives with memoir but not in the way Terese does in the Afterword. Before that she shows us the art and craft, the gifts and skills.

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Required reading

Terese Mailhot is at the forefront not contemporary Indigenous literature, and rightly so. She is such a powerful and important voice. I really enjoy her craft in this book, & I highly recommend to anyone interested in the complexity of trauma and survival.