• The Bossy Bookworm

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

A book I loved, in case you missed it! O’Farrell’s meditations on the precious nature of life felt new, honest, raw, and fascinating.

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 memoir of pivotal near-death experiences that shaped her life and affected the way she considers her existence. Her recollections include a childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, an encounter with a potentially dangerous man in the vulnerable middle of nowhere, and her struggle to protect her daughter.


The seventeen snapshots of O'Farrell's life at different stages highlight the frighteningly fragile nature of life. The construct of tracing near-death experiences to tell the story of her life didn’t feel forced at all, and O’Farrell’s meditations on the precious nature of life felt new, honest, raw, and fascinating.


I loved this. O’Farrell’s writing is exacting but lyrical, capturing the nuances of the moments that lead to and make up sudden crises, arising challenges, and the dangers and narrow escapes that shape a life.

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O'Farrell is also the author of other books I've really liked: Hamnet, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Instructions for a Heatwave, and This Must Be the Place, as well as books I haven't yet read: After You'd Gone, The Distance Between Us, The Hand that First Held Mine, and others.