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I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with…
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I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (2017)

by Maggie O'Farrell

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» See also 59 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This is such an interesting concept for a book, but I didn't feel that it was executed as well as it could have been. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
What sounds like a medical memoir is not the type of book that I would normally read, but having recently enjoyed one of O'Farrell's novels I opened this one and was immediately captivated. They are fascinating stories to begin with, but in O'Farrell's brilliant hand the book becomes a page-turner and without the slightest sign of self-pity. The incidents are not presented chronologically, or even recounted in a frame-by-frame manner, but in the expressive prose of a storyteller. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Nov 13, 2018 |
This is a special book and an especially good book. The author writes beautifully and her stories are interesting, compelling, entertaining, educational, and important. I learned a lot, about the world and, just as importantly, about empathy.

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 explains the rest of the book, and my next favorite was the last chapter, which does the same, and deeply touched my heart too.

It definitely made me think of my many brushes with death.

The author is a sort of risk taker, though it turns out she is very careful to avoid certain risks, but she has experienced a breadth and depth of what the world has to offer and some, though only some, of her brushes with death are due to experiences she chose to have. She is an adventurer by her own admission. I admire her. She does mention how she could have gone the opposite path, in reaction to an early (more than) brush with death, and I presume meant living life more carefully, timidly. But I’m more like that, always have been, in reaction to my early dangers, and yet I could count up quite a few times when my life could easily have ended, when the risk of that happening was not a minor one. Having an unsupervised adolescence and growing up when and where I did, perhaps my adaptive style did work to my advantage? Yet at 5, 6, 2 times at least at 13, 2 times at 14, and I could keep on…I could have maybe written a book such as this, but I’d have to be as engaging a storyteller and as good a writer as the author of this book, and she’s really, really good. I’m now interested in reading her fiction and definitely whatever other non-fiction books she writes. ( )
  Lisa2013 | Nov 5, 2018 |
I love the way this woman writes. I have enjoyed all of Maggie O’Farrell’s books, but this one made me wonder how one person could handle so many things and still come out on the top of the heap? She commands the top of the heap. ( )
  kimkimkim | Sep 22, 2018 |
Began this yesterday in the garden. Can't stop. Heard about it on the book programme on R4. ( )
  adrianburke | Aug 7, 2018 |
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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
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for my children
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On the path ahead, stepping out from behind a boulder, a man appears.
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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.… (more)

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