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Heart Berries

wild strawberries, blueberries and huckleberries are arranged in a heart shape with one side broken
Heart Berries, by Terese Marie Mailhot

Ah wow. Heart Berries is so hard to read. It felt like drinking with a good friend in a dim bar late late at night, until you're both drunk enough to talk about the worst thing that's ever been done to you, secure in knowing that you're too drunk to remember it. Reading it reminded me of women I have loved, who were volatile and greedy and most prone to leaving when they wanted to stay. It reminded me of myself.

Those women deserved better when they were young, and they deserve better now. It is hard to be in a world that treats you like a commodity for soothing someone else's distress. Being turned into a tool makes one feel that one must scream and thrash for your own pain to be heard and respected. And then for that thrashing to be simplified and divorced from the cause of the pain, turned into a diagnosis... I think Mailhot's unflinching embrace of the pain is the only way to survive it.

Heart Berries is very good. I felt throughout that I should be saving lines to quote later, like I often do with books of poetry. Content warning for white men, fathers, mothers, generational trauma, neglect, family separation, sexual assault of a child.

I bought this book pre-pandemic at King's Bookstore, which I miss dearly. They'll mail your books to you promptly and without a fuss, and deserve your business.


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