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

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Perhaps the only downside to the book’s organization is that because the stories aren’t in chronological order, some of them feel repetitive, as the author occasionally provides redundant context about the events in her life. An intriguing and mostly engaging collection of life-threatening stories.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

An extraordinary memoir--told entirely in near-death experiences--from one of Britain's best-selling novelists, for fans of Wild, When Breath Becomes Air, and The Year of Magical Thinking.

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.
 

About Maggie O'Farrell

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Maggie O'Farrell is the author of After You'd Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; My Lover's Lover; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox; and The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of a Costa Novel Award.













Author Residence: London













Author Hometown: Northern Ireland
 
Published February 6, 2018 by Knopf. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for I Am, I Am, I Am
All: 7 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 31 2017

Perhaps the only downside to the book’s organization is that because the stories aren’t in chronological order, some of them feel repetitive, as the author occasionally provides redundant context about the events in her life. An intriguing and mostly engaging collection of life-threatening stories.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Laurie Hertzel on Feb 02 2018

Her stories are harrowing, but the purpose of these essays is not to frighten. It is to affirm. She did not die; she lived through all of these experiences and now recounts each one in vivid, fully alive detail...

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dani Shapiro on Apr 05 2018

In the end, this memoir is a mystical howl, a thrumming, piercing reminder of how very closely we all exist alongside what could have happened, but didn’t.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Kate Kellaway on Aug 20 2017

The difficulty she faces with the structure of the book is that it is not unexpected at all. We get the gist from the subtitle, Seventeen Brushes With Death, although there is enough variety to avoid predictability.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Fiona Sturges on Aug 18 2017

While these experiences are unique to the author, there is a common thread in their telling. Each of these essays is underscored with the knowledge that such incidents can materialise in all our lives without warning.

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Feb 06 2018

Dedicated to her children, I Am, I Am, I Am is filled with lessons the rest of us would be wise to heed.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Heather Birrell on Feb 02 2018

A mother’s cri-de-coeur, it is a fitting end to a memoir that makes one acutely aware of both the precarious and precious nature of our days on earth.

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