I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death

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In her most recent book I Am, I Am, I Am, novelist Maggie O’Farrell offers a pensive collection of 17 autobiographical essays that mostly deal with her own near-death experiences. Each essay resembles a mini-drama and is titled as the body part that is being threatened in that particular story–neck, lungs, abdomen, circulatory system, cranium, and intestines to name a few. The most notable among these episodes include an alarming encounter with a man who would become a murderer, a terrifying run-in with an armed robber, severe postpartum hemorrhage, and childhood encephalitis. The essays describing her miscarriage and her daughter’s ongoing battle with anaphylaxis are especially sentimental.

Ranging from frightening, bizarre, and heartbreaking, O’Farrell’s unique and memorable encounters serve as a sobering reminder of how unexpectedly the end of a life can happen. While many of her experiences are undeniably serious, O’Farrell appears to give undue importance to a handful of mildly concerning incidents. She relies heavily on her overdramatized writing to hold readers’ attention, and though these quotidian occurrences are unlucky and disturbing, they do not accurately depict what the exciting subtitle of the book implies. However, every essay is engagingly personal and contemplative, making O’Farrell’s first book of nonfiction unputdownable. O’Farrell’s insight into the always threatening possibility of death is brave, moving, and reassuring.

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Author Maggie O'Farrell
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2018-Feb-06
ISBN 9780525520221
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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