I Am, I Am, I Am

I Am, I Am, I Am

Seventeen Brushes With Death : A Memoir

Book - 2018
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We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of 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 encounter with a disturbed man on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter -- for whom this book was written -- from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life's myriad dangers. Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and restrained emotion, O'Farrell captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty, and mysteries of life itself.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525520221
Characteristics: 288 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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Oct 15, 2018

This book has self-contained narratives about O'Farrell's brushes with death which she wrote because her daughter's medical condition results in frequent near death experiences. It made me like who O'Farrell is as a person and I liked her message that life is precious and must be lived each day.

Sep 29, 2018

I loved this book! I think it is a great way for people who do not normally read non-fiction to get into it-- the short chapters are focused on different parts of the body, and how they connect to the near-death experiences the author has survived. It is an interesting take on death, and makes you consider your own life experiences.
I would, and have been highly recommending this memoir to everyone.

ser_library Sep 19, 2018

beautifully written

samcmar Sep 08, 2018

I absolutely found this book fascinating. It is both scary, and impressive to me that someone could have seventeen brushes with death. What I loved about this story is how O'Farrell weaves her experiences together, reflects on what she learned from them, and how she a lot of these experiences intertwine with each other. This book isn't for the faint of heart, as a few of the stories can be uncomfortable to read. I found this book very poignant and powerful.

TSCPL_ScarlettFH Jul 14, 2018

This book made me grateful that I have not had 17 near death experiences (or certainly not 17 that I'm aware of). At times, I wondered if she was stretching the truth a bit but doing some research online about the author convinced me that the story is genuine. It is beautifully written and has a sadness to it. Like other commenters, I wish the author had included more details about her life outside of these experiences. Still, a compelling read that will make you think with gratitude on the time you've been given.

Jun 24, 2018

Told through seventeen near-death experiences, Maggie O'Farrell draws us in to her astonishing, bizarre life with impeccable opening sentences for each essay. Each essay opens up with anatomical drawings of the part of the body being affected in that story- lungs, circulatory system, cerebellum, neck, intestines...you get the idea.

May 18, 2018

I also wished this was written more chronologically because in the end I didn't feel there was some neat nuance the back and forth created. Just odd.
I also would have liked more details of her life outside of the near death experiences. I enjoyed some of the minor plot lines that were her life but was left wondering, "how did that turn out?" Or "who was that guy and where in all this did she meet him?" "Tell me more about your third child!"
She has an interesting style of writing which was refreshing to read but I finished this book glad I rented it instead of buying it.

KateHillier May 14, 2018

A fascinating, lyrical look at one woman's 17 near death experiences. Some are dramatic, some are quiet, all are formative

Apr 21, 2018

I like reading about near-death experiences. I often wonder how I would respond in dramatic life-or-death situations, and so I liked reading this book, which includes (I think) 17 near-death experiences the author has had. The first is most dramatic, when she has a close brush with a strangler on a lonely hike. And it proceeds from there, one after the next, when I finally got fed up and started thinking, "Are you nuts? What sort of person puts her child on her back and swims into the ocean and nearly kills them both due to hubris?" Then the last two chapters are about her childhood encephalitis that nearly killed her and left her unable to walk, and about the fear she feels every day that her daughter will die due to anaphylactic shock. I felt like an idiot for getting frustrated with her, after all she had been through, her somewhat reckless approach to life made sense. She is a great storyteller, and the language is beautiful.

Apr 03, 2018

I would have like to have given this book 5 stars because the author is a good writer and her premise is v. interesting but the chronological back and forth is just not necessary nor does it add to the narrative. She has survived not only many near death experiences of her own but also of her children. She has cultivated an attitude of gratitude and sensitivity that only enhances her story.

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