I have an ongoing commitment that I will exclusively read women writers this year. Full disclosure, I’ve only read two books this year.

By some fluke or mix-up I received HEART BERRIES by Terese Mailhot last week (a whole week before publication). I read this poignant memoir in one heart-wrenching sitting. On the surface, it seems odd for me to say that this is the most vulnerable memoir that I have ever read. But it is the truth. HEART BERRIES is raw and powerful. Mailhot’s words and journey have stayed with me.

The writer is very deliberate and open about her mental illness, the loss of her son, familial trauma,  and her tumultuous affair and relationship with her former teacher. The parts that were about her relationship were particularly striking to me as I think there are people like me who can relate and understand the sort of desperation she felt about this particular love.

It’s a difficult book because it tackles abuse and mental illness. It never strays from honesty. The writer neither vilifies herself nor presents herself as saintly. Mailhot also rejects indigenous stereotypes but also makes it clear that this is her journey and not necessarily a depiction of every woman from the rez.

This poetic and compelling memoir has received and continues to receive rave reviews and the praise is well-deserved. I urge everyone to pick up this slim but powerful memoir.

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