Heart Berries is a powerful and vulnerable vehicle for emotional wild fire. Mailhot shares her story told through essays, and the timing for each new piece of information she reveals about her story is so well timed as to hit the core of my emotional well-being. Mailhot has clearly spent time forming this masterpiece with such carefully chosen language to feel as raw and revealing as Heart Berries does, and I am amazed at her ability.
Mailhot seems to look herself in the eye and say to all her trauma and struggle, “You can’t stop me now!” She is incredibly smart and a very talented storyteller, but more than that, she is willing to go the distance to produce this short memoir that is packed with one powerful truth after another.
Many of the sentences she writes are concise to the point of feeling abrupt. This abruptness lends itself to her story, as the details she unfolds from her life seem so impossibly blunt and poorly timed. She is clear through her storytelling that she is not seeking pity, but seeking some reconciliation through sharing her vulnerability. She has the clearest way of describing how intertwined her identity and cultural history is with herself as a person that I have ever heard. Had this memoir been over a thousand pages, I think I would have found myself sitting on my bed in a nearly trance-like state until I reached the final piece of punctuation on the final page, but instead I find myself marveling over how strong of a book this was in just 143 pages. As soon as I put the book down, I reached over to pick it up again, this time to read it aloud to whoever was in the room.
I found this book to be so powerful in fact that it has 100% eclipsed my previous read and subsequent read, and I’m hoping I am able to forget her sheer mastery soon or I worry reading regular books will have significantly lost my interest.
I recognize that I haven’t even begun to share anything about what Mailhot’s story is, and I believe that is due directly to how powerful this book is as a whole that I do not wish to tarnish one detail for you, but should you wish to know more about her, I can give you a brief description below. Mailhot is a young Indian woman living with childhood trauma. This memoir recounts some of her relationships with men, women, her parents, herself. Throughout the memoir she continues to reveal traumatic memories and how they affected her, and writes about the emotional journeys she took to recover from moments of her life. Mailhot is just incredible at weaving together her identity as an Indian woman, a woman living with mental illness, and a person with trauma.