Blown away by Terese Mailhot's brave, coarse story of her search for truth, safety, and a way to experience love. An exquisite heart, cracked open, every facet exposed. This is memoir but it belongs with poetry and essay, too. Highly recommend.— Susan
February 2018 Indie Next List
“In a time of memoirs that help a reader understand vulnerability and the experience of facing down fear, Terese Marie Mailhot's cathartic, moving Heart Berries is one of the bravest and most fearless of such books. Her coming-of-age on a First Nation reservation, Seabird Island in Canada, is particular to that vividly evoked place, but also carries larger, universal lessons for the human spirit and its survival. A necessary book.”
— Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
A New York Times Bestseller, Now in Paperback.
An official selection by actress and activist Emma Watson's Book Club, Our Shared Shelf
"A sledgehammer . . . a new model for the memoir." --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times 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.
About the Author
TERESE MARIE MAILHOT graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts with an M.F.A. in fiction, and received a Whiting Award for Nonfiction in 2019.