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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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4993134,026 (4.07)65
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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English (29)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I am a big Maggie O'Farrell fan. It's hard to believe how many brushes with death one person could have. Interesting storytelling especially escaping a murderer who goes on to kill another young girl. I think we can all think of times we were saved from tragedy and be grateful for those divine mercies. Her greatest tragedy is the frail health problems of her daughter. ( )
  Jeanene_KP | Apr 6, 2020 |
wow wow wow I loved this memoir. It’s structured as vignettes about O’Farrell’s 17 brushes with death from accidents, illnesses and dangerous strangers. They’re not exaggerated incidents; the dangers are dramatic and suspenseful and death seems imminent. Yet at the same time, her voice is gentle and reflective, steady in the present time and weaving in flashbacks and flash-forwards with a mastery that could serve as a writing class. I’m in awe that none of her experiences dim her relentless adventurousness.

The knowledge that I was lucky to be alive, that it so easily could have been otherwise, skewed my thinking. … What else was I going to do with my independence, my ambulatory state, except exploit it for all it was worth? ( )
  DetailMuse | Feb 11, 2020 |
Very bleak, as you would expect given the subject matter.
I found the last chapter especially moving.
( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
A wonderful wonderful beautiful book. ( )
  bobbieharv | Dec 4, 2019 |
On the surface this book is about near-death experiences - yet listening to O'Farrell's words, I found it to be more of a poetic memoir of life. I learned more about this author and her fears, her truths, her world through her intimate retelling of painful life experiences than a chronological recap could present. Her words were beautiful, yet I did become bored before the end, hence 4 stars. ( )
  njinthesun | Jul 21, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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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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