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Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot | A Reflection

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I finished reading Heart Berries a few days ago and I feel like I am a deeper person because of it. There are many books out there, but not that many that truly dig deep into uneasiness and force you to look in the face of that uncomfortable feeling. There are some books out there that are so incredibly personal that I feel I cannot give it a review worthy of its story. I have no right to offer my opinions and criticisms on something I will never be able to understand. That being said, I will do it quickly anyway. This book is very good. It explores emotions in a way I hadn’t expected it to. It explores stories that we often ignore or scoff at. But it also provides a lesson, one that I will forever be learning.

Because I don’t want to give it a traditional review, I instead am going to share my favourite quotes from it. There are quite a few of them, but this book really could be quoted from cover to cover. The words chosen are so poignant, so raw, that I sat astounded almost every time I came across those below. Some of them are more obviously stirring than others; some require a bit of context. I won’t provide it though, in hopes that you will go and read the author’s stories one day too.

***

“My story became the hustle.”

“…our currents are endless.”

“You don’t need to be nice.”

“Did you ever want to stop eating?”

“I learned how story was always meant to be for Indian women: immediate and necessary and fearless, like all good lies.”

“I learned how to make a honey reduction of the ugly sentences.”

“Resilience seems ascribed to a human conditioning in white people.”

“Nuns and priests ran out of places to put bones, so they built us into the walls of new boarding schools.”

“You had a jawline, and I wanted to crawl under your gaze – under your chin. I was desirous to be beneath you.”

“Falling in love felt fluid.”

“You said you’d be on the other side of the door. That’s how perfect love is at first.”

“He collected some berries and brought them to the people. Eventually, he started to plant and show others what he learned. This was how the first medicine man came to be.”

“I was signing a new treaty.”

“I was all points and sharp corners before I loved you.”

“The weight and the dust of me are in every thread of your mattress.”

“I thought of the bones from my lineage, which had been cemented inside the walls of residential buildings.”

“I don’t think I can forgive myself for my compassion.”

“I don’t know if I am a cavern or a river. Once, you said I was a geyser: a hole in the ground – bursting.”

***

Terese Marie Mailhot

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