Book Review: Heart Berries, A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

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Terese reminds me greatly of my mother. In many moments of my once upon best friend. And some leftover traces remind me of myself. 

Reading this book felt intimidatingly personal. As if reading the raw pages of my very own diaries, immersing without warning in the pond of my remembrances; that unapologetic self-absorbent and borderline personality of my mother, the mystical and perpetual desolation of my former soul sister, and my own, long vanished behaviours; that hammering self-destruction and the nearly suicidal way of pouring the heart out to the men I love.

Pessimism, obsession, love, delusion and passion ... Everything is there. Bathing through the words of Mailhot was oftenly distressful and uncomfortable yet unfailingly vigorous and powerful. Those sentences urged me to read on until my tired eyes failed to remain open.

That is precisely what genuine Art does, it forces you to explore a variety of unexpected, nameless emotions. It makes you formulate viewpoints just to have them crumble down at the next thought. This book is brilliant, it reads in two shakes of a lamb's tail and it stays, tickling your entrails long after you've closed it's pages.

What began as a heartbreakingly honest letter to her ex-lover, written within the confinement of a Psychiatric hospital, metamorphosed into an almighty novel to her children; the taken, the kept and the undesired. To her backbreaking mother, to her tender superstitious grandmother and to the man who became her husband.

Terese, despite her remarkably young age, lives the nightmare of every parent; she is deprived of her child, being left with nothing but a monstrous harrowing yearning. The nightmare of every sane man; fighting every hour of everyday against her own brain. And the ruthless reality of an impoverished female minority. 

In Heart Berries, Terese Mailhot bewitches us with the spell of her profoundly poetic writing; fearless and undisguised, in a damaged and achingly flawed way of embracing the struggle. 

 

My favorite quote?

''Observation isn't easy, and the right eyes can make me feel like a deer, while the wrong ones make me feel like a monster.”

- Page 19, ''Indian Sick''

Ava L.