Heart Berries: A Memoir Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-03 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"4.5/5 stars

This memoir is so much more than just a memoir. It reads like a poem to someone Mailhot addresses as "you," who we later find out is her partner, Casey. The subject matter is complex, dealing with her experiences as an Indian woman, the stereotypes and struggles of the community on the reservation, and Mailhot's mental illness. We also see her trying to reconcile her role as a mother to her three children despite her own tenuous and difficult relationships with her mother and father, and the navigations of this are compelling and heartbreaking.

Mailhot is an incredible writer. She writes lines that hit you where it hurts, lines that you have to reread a couple times to make sure you've understood them, and lines that bury the meaning so deep inside a beautiful sentence that finally realizing what she meant is like a kick in the stomach.

I highly recommend this memoir. It's short, but it packs a punch. In the back of the book is also a Q&A that really gives insight into Mailhot's incredible mind. This was an eye-opening book that truly adds depth to my understanding of the world. Highly recommended.
" said.

" Thanks to Terese Marie Mailhot and Counterpoint Press for providing an advanced copy.Short, poetic, and raw. I'm still processing this one. Although it falls at a tiny 160 pages, it takes a while to read each page as there are no extra words, no extra phrases--it is packed and dense and heavy.I liked the Q&A afterword with Joan Kane, which adds some more information and discussion with the author. " said.

"This poetic memoir is heartbreaking and raw. Mailhot writes frankly about dealing with abuse and mental illness, trying to piece her family together even as she loses custody of her oldest child and returns again and again to an emotionally manipulative lover. I especially appreciated reading about Mailhot's experience as a Salish Indian navigating mental health services and other things in a white world. Readers engrossed by Sherman Alexie's recent memoir You Don't Have to Say You Love Me will devour this one, too. " said.

" This is hard and heavy and ... joyless? I like the writing, it feels fresh and straightforward, different than other memoirs. But the lack of chronology made it difficult for me to understand who was who and who did what.The afterword is a question and answer session and is especially interesting because Mailhot's voice is a little different, possibly its a transcript of her speaking instead of writing? " said.

"I can hear my aunt's voice, telling me that if my security depends on a man's words or action, I've lost sight of my power.

I think I am more a fan of spare, unpoetic prose. At certain times, the writing style of "Heart Berries" reminded me, slightly, of spoken-word poetry. It's just personal preference that this kind of art is really not to my taste.

Neverthless, "Heart Berries" was an important read, offering a perspective that is rarely seen in mainstream media: an Indigenous woman's battle with mental illness, heartbreak, and identity. Mailhot's dedication to art and storytelling is commendable, her honesty bold and refreshing.

A unique memoir that, I think, is a valuable addition to feminist literature.
" said.

"Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex

The concise and powerful language used to describe the author's life in this book is amazing. The prose read more like poetry and was full of emotion and honest. Mailhot had a very troubling and abusive childhood that she slowly confronts in adulthood. The book describes her experience being hospitalized for her mental illness and how she navigates her relationships with the people in her life. Mailhot's parents were both caught up in their own trauma's and addictions while raising her. She goes through a journey to learn how to grapple with the anger and love she feels for them both.

"She transcended resilience and actualized what Indians weren't taught to know: We are unmovable."

Mailhot connects her experiences in her Native American community with her approaches to understanding the world around her. She recognizes her erratic behavior as harmful but accepts it as a important part of her being. In this book the author is unapologetic ally herself and I could not stop reading. The descriptions of emotional pain and loneliness resonated with me and will resonate with most readers. The trauma and disturbing events in this book were intimate glimpses into the author's life that helped create a full picture. She identified as an outsider in a society that is hostile to her identity and existence and confronts that.  I'm excited to read more of what Mailhot writes because this was phenomenal.

 "You were a bystander to my joy. You had a black eye, and we covered it with excuses."

 Recommended for Readers Who
-enjoy powerful stories about women
-want to learn more about Native American experiences
-appreciate lyrical, poetic and memorable prose" said.

"Oh my heart.

I don’t even know where to start because there were sooo many issues Mailhot tackles with so much pain and restraint and style. I instantly took to Mailhot’s writing style – it was choppy and raw, uncut, unedited (obviously it was edited but it felt like it was not... in a good way). It felt as if I was peering into her dairy, dissecting her innermost deepest secrets and thoughts and seeing such vulnerability and grace and pain at the same time that her stream of consciousness type poetic writing style just made sense. I’m sure it took a lot of work behind-the-scenes to make it appear this way.

At the heart of it all, I loved that this story stayed true to Mailhot’s truth. She didn’t disguise or mask parts of her story to make it easier-to-swallow for readers with light stomachs. She brought the pain the only way she could to bring true healing by exposing the truth. I commend and applaud her bravery and candor for telling such unique & empowering story. Even if it was riddled with a slew of mental health issues including bipolar & eating disorders, abuse and neglect. Mailhot tells her story as a victim, survivor, perpetrator, woman, Native American (Indian), American, wearing so many different hats and carrying so many different layers of pain. I think it was a beautiful way she reclaimed some of her power – her agency; she owns her truth unapologetically.

It’s not just a memoir about a woman and her struggles. Maybe, but it also depicts the lasting effects of the kind of genocide perpetuated upon Native Americans by white Americans and how it still haunts and dictates and brings both pain and sometimes joy to Maihot’s identity and life. She’s perpetually stuck in this in-between – with and without agency. In love with a white man, but hating White Men. Feeling like a squaw yet being a fellow in her graduate program, selling out books and rising, untouchable as a woman and a writer. There’s so much complexity and rich material in this tiny book – a world within a world within a world.

"The other women, white women, were treated like good friends. I could have used that. One morning, I left your house, and you saw me later in public. You didn’t stop to speak to me. You waved. Maybe I make myself the squaw? Maybe this whole time, I should have sent you pictures of my hands."

"I think self-esteem is a white invention to further separate one person from another. It asks people to assess their values and implies people have worth. It seems like identity capitalism."

"My mind is overwhelmed with breakfast alone. I don’t eat for days so you can run your hands over my ribcage. You told me that you always want to eat ribs afterward. I don’t eat for days because I can’t afford it. The meal I order after being fucked, by you, or anyone, is something earned. Men objectify me, to such a degree that they forget I eat. You feed your dog more kindly than you feed me. That’s men."

"Guyweeyo was cut out from me, larger than he should have been. His skin is milk, and his body feels electric and unforgiving. He seems like the child my brothers, my sister, and I – could have been."

Read. This. Book.
" said.

" This is not ordinarily the sort of book I pick up, but I found it powerful and disturbing and heart wrenching to read. Mailhot writes her madness in an extraordinarily compelling way, one that viscerally portrays the abuse and trauma at the heart of her story. Every time I went to put it down, I found myself compelled to pick it up again.Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Edelweiss. " said.

June 2018 New Book:

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