I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death
I Am, I Am, I Am is Maggie O'Farrell's astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life. The childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An e ...more
At the time, I gaze up at the sky, the birds, the fast-moving clouds, and I am thinking about the dense forest behind us, about how I do not want to be dragged in there, not at all. I do not want to see the trees closing over my head, feel the scratch and pluck of bushes against my skin, my clothes, the cold damp of the ground in there. My thoughts are very simple. They pulse through my head: let me g ...more
Dear Maggie O’Farrell,
I’m bouncing high, zigzagging through your 17 brushes with death. Barefoot because my socks were knocked off. I can’t stop! Yep, I’m downright manic! What an amazing memoir you wrote! One of the best books I’ve read this year!
I am I am I am absolutely in love with your book. I can’t help it that I’m stuttering. It’s that or remain speechless, which isn’t my style.
My brain is on fire! Matchy-matchy: My head, your language. Oh, your tone! The way ...more
I have read three of her novels and count Maggie O’Farrell as one of my favorite writers and I know I have to get to those that I haven’t read. This memoir is as beautifully written as her novels. O’Farrell shares with us some very personal experiences, memories of times in her life when she was in danger, close to death. As in her novels, she had me feeling and thinking about the complexities of life, sometimes the danger that lies near all of us. While she writes about things that happened to ...more
How difficult it is to write a text about a memoir...No matter if you liked it or not, no matter whether you shared the writer’s views or not, a memoir is a testament of someone’s heart and soul and how can anyone dissect it so light-heartedly? This memoir by Maggie O’Farrell is one of the most poignant, powerfu ...more
I tend to retreat to my standard 3 star rating.
I didn’t equally ‘enjoy’ each story in this collection -
It’s a mix collection for me.
A few stories felt embellished.
In the middle of the book - I started to feel as if I had enough. A couple of the stories felt a little narcissistic—
....but then I felt sad for Maggie’s sick child - heck I felt awful for Maggie, too, when ‘she’ was a child in the hospita ...more
Honest and open are the two words I thought of while reading this. The things she shares, private moments, secrets she had held close, but now share. Yet, it her experiences with motherhood that ...more
At first blush, the way O’Farrell has chosen to organize her memoir is odd. Each chapter is focused on a near death experience. The chapters are out of chronological order. And while each chapter deals with a particular experience, it meanders to many other parts of O’Far ...more
"We are, all of us, wandering about in a state of oblivion, borrowing our time, seizing our days, escaping our fates, slipping through loopholes, unaware of when the axe may fall.”
This is the memoir of Maggie O'Farrel documenting the near bushes of death that have been riddled through out her life. Each chapter introduces a different time and age of the author and her experiences grazing near to death. We are witness to the encounters with death that the author has endured, for example; nea ...more
As with any essay collection, some of the stories resonated with me more than others but they are all beau ...more
I am not a lover of memoirs in general, but
I am glad to have read this one.
I am returning to the dark side now.
Told through 17 near death experiences that the author experienced throughout her life, you find yourself reading with bated breath as O Farrell draws you in with words and descriptions that make the reading experience very real and poignant.
At O’Farrell’s near-catastrophic ...more
I love the framing of this memoir: Maggie O’Farrell tells her story as a series of essays, each concentrating on a near death experience. I do like memoirs that play with format and I enjoyed the unchronological ...more
”Is this your life?” She asks.
“It’s not......it’s just......snatches of a life. A string of moments. Some chapters will be long. Others might be really short.”
The chapters are at times terrifying and at other times heart breaking. These short snippets of a life give an insight into the personal life of Maggie O’Farrell and really show the reader who she is.
O’Farrell shows us that real people, just like you and I, ...more
- The nonlinear narrative structure – the seventeen chapters, the eponymous "seventeen brushes with death", are told non-chronologically, all covering a certain point in Maggie O'Farrell's life spanning from early childhood until now. It was never confusing to read, but made for an interesting and wholly original account of a life.
- The writing style, which I fell in love with from page one. It's absolutely beautiful written wi ...more
"I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am."—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
I thoroughly enjoyed this unique take on a memoir! I've never read any of O'Farrell's books, and I'm so glad I started here. O'Farrell recalls seventeen close brushes with death at various points in her life, dividing each chapter into both year and organ(s) that was endangered.
The writing was so compelling and the language beautiful, that I could have easily read this in one sitting. H ...more
Some stories will break your heart, some will make you question her choices, and a couple others will absolutely give you the creeps....like OMG, the man on the path in the woods. Maggie used her head and saved her own bacon in this one!
An escapologist as a child, a risk taker and traveler as an adult, I am, I am, I am, tells...more
I did not like the switching from first person to third person narrative or the way the sporadic timeline, which at times felt linear and then suddenly wasn’t.
However, I was captivated by the interesting and terrifying brushes with death the author has experienced. Some were small, and some were so crazy that most people will never encounter (I.e. the serial killer story). I also related to her exp ...more
I Am, I Am, I Am is a unique memoir written as a collection of essays or short stories.
Unlike most memoirs, it doesn't have a linear trajectory but that didn't inhibit my reading experience, if anything, it enhanced my enjoyment.
This memoir is made up of stories of near-death experiences and it's quite the assortment of such experiences, including almost getting run over by a car; near-drownings; having a machete to her throat in a South Ame ...more
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind”
-- Suzanne, Leonard Cohen, Songwriters: Leonard Cohen
When I saw that this book was one of the choices in the Best Book of the Year awards for goodreads, I wanted to squeeze this one in today, and I’m so glad that I did. A brilliant memoir that doesn’t really read like a memoir, the writing is her standard beautiful, brutally honest, somewhat bare-bon ...more
But I Am, I Am, I Am isn’t a great book because Maggie O’Farrell has had such a dramatic life (although she has) and has so many harrowing stories to tell. It is a great book because O’Farrell is a wonderful storyteller, which means that she sees the connections between events in her life and has a journalist’s gift for weaving them together through exquisite ...more
However, the subject of this memoir also made me anxious. Maggie shares seventeen stories in which she brushed with death, including a serious childhood illness, two near-drownings, a dangerous childbirth, and scary encounters with violent men while out hiking.
I don't remember how I first heard about this book, but I'm so glad I crossed paths with it. Despite the s ...more
It was also my first novel by O'Farrell. It definitely won't be the last. It was about her many near death experiences. Creatively, she titled them with which part of the body was in danger.
The first chapter was to effective to grip you in the book. Her writing impressed me a lot. She has a style of pulling you in the book, move you with all the emotions she put in t ...more
Some of the chapters in I Am, I Am, I Am - taken, of course, from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar - perhaps inevitab ...more
I think that the chapter titles and illustrations at the start of every chapter are wonderful.
The books works well as a biography, a science book of sorts, one with cultural/natural world information too.
My favorite chapter was the second to last, and it ...more
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell is a beautifully written, emotionally-wrenching and poetically-haunting story. I very rarely read non-fiction but when I heard about this book, I knew I had to have it.
It follows Maggie's life from childhood to the present day and there is a poignant intimacy which pervades throughout. I loved the structure of the book and how it is divided into seventeen sections, all addressing a part of the human body and a brus ...more