REVIEW: HEART BERRIES

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.

What will you be reading?

2018 is just around the corner which is incredible! This year has been a packed year for me for many personal reasons both good and bad. I think 2018 will be another exciting and filled year including wedding bells!

There are several books that I am looking forward to reading in 2018. Frankly, the book I am most anticipating is SUICIDE CLUB by Rachel Heng. I am a huge of dystopian fiction and have already read some of Rachel’s short fiction. It doesn’t debut until July but it’s on my list to pre-order.

In February, we have HEART BERRIES: A MEMOIR by Terese Mailhot to look forward to. Roxane Gay has already said wonderful things about this memoir. It’s exciting to see people of color including indigenous folks have a voice and tell their stories.

As a writer who writers short stories, I do love short story collections. I wish that there was more attention given to short stories. Though “Cat Person” became quite a viral short story so hopefully that opens up the dialogue and more people will show interest in our niche. BACK TALK a collection by Danielle Lazarin is set to debut in 2018 as well! It’s a collection of stories about women. I’m making a conscious decision to read more fiction about and by women.

It’s evident I am most focused on emerging writers in contemporary fiction. And there are still several books on my reading shelf that I need to read but it won’t stop me from buying more!

There are of course a plethora of other fiction and nonfiction being published in 2018. I’d love to hear what you are looking forward to reading in 2018!