Heart Berries is a tragic, raw story chronicling a young, indigenous woman’s journey through a dysfunctional childhood and her own tragic experiences prior to her diagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disease. She bravely shares the trauma and abuse that impacted her childhood through a series of essays as she struggles to care for herself and be a mother to her boys.
The writing is almost lyrically beautiful yet hard to follow at times, reflective of the chaos of her traumatic experiences and intergenerational impacts of residential schools. She began writing this memoir during her self-admission to hospital. Readers come to understand her challenges and admire her resilience and honesty. Heart Berries openly shares the emotional, physical and sexual abuse that she experienced. Sadly her mother, a social worker helping others, was unable to save her from this trauma and her father was described as an “abusive alcoholic” who was later murdered.
This book is real. It is heartbreaking. It is raw. It is hard to read at times but it is also beautifully written and creates a narrative that is important for readers to understand and reflect on as we think about reconciliation and indigenous issues. It must have taken great courage and strength to work through her own issues, to talk about her diagnoses and to share her experiences and this book will give readers a glimpse of understanding the intergenerational trauma of residential schools.