26 May 2023

Review: I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell

I Am, I Am, I Am - Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell

I've read two five star novels by Maggie O'Farrell now (Hamnet and The Marriage Portrait) and I finally made time to dip a toe into her back catalogue. I'd previously worried that I Am, I Am, I Am - Seventeen Brushes with Death would be a misery memoir and I'm just not interested in that type of book. However, I listened to the sample and decided to give this a try and thankfully, I was richly rewarded for taking the chance.

I Am, I Am, I Am - Seventeen Brushes with Death is a memoir by Maggie O'Farrell that deals with seventeen separate experiences in her life, seventeen times she could have died, and didn't.

Near death experiences or NDEs are fascinating, but not what this is about. 

I Am, I Am, I Am is about the circumstances leading up to each episode and the personal reflection and self assessment the author shares with us. Maggie O'Farrell is able to establish an instant intimacy with the reader by stripping herself bare and sharing her inner most thoughts and revelations from different points in her life with us.

Motherhood and love is at the heart of most of these stories, as is an uncompromising and unflinching self awareness.

The language and writing is absolutely sublime, and Daisy Donovan narrated the audiobook I listened to with passion and spirit and perfect interpretation of mood, subject and feeling.

At the end of I Am, I Am, I Am - Seventeen Brushes with Death I didn't feel weighed down by a hard life, as you might expect. Instead I felt inspired, invigorated and brimming with admiration for this amazing, fierce, complicated, intelligent, flawed and brilliant woman.

Highly recommended!

My Rating:

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  1. I almost never read memoirs but O'Farrell... I just HAD to, and this one had me crying like a baby. It was just amazing.

    1. Thanks Davida, I don't read memoirs often either, although having said that, I'm listening to one right now! But it was definitely the writing prowess that tempted me to pick this up. So glad you enjoyed it too. It didn't make me cry but it was very powerful and definitely unforgettable.


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