I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

I picked up I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell because it was the June read for Clare Mackintosh’s Facebook book club. I wouldn’t have ever considered reading it without that encouragement, but I’m so glad that I did. Regular readers of my book reviews will know that I LOVE Clare Mackintosh. I’ve been a member of her Facebook book club for a few months and had never joined in with the monthly read until last month, which happened to be Where the Crawdads Sing, which I had read quite coincidentally a few weeks previously. It was nice to join in with some of the discussions on Facebook, so I thought I would take the plunge and buy I Am, I Am, I Am too.

I read a Maggie O’Farrell book YEARS ago, probably around the time my sons were born (my eldest is 19 and my younger son is 16). I can’t remember what it was or what it was about, but I do remember that I enjoyed it and it was well written.

I Am, I Am, I Am is not a novel – and I like to read novels about 90% of the time. It is a sort of autobiography, but based on 17 (yes, SEVENTEEN) near-death experiences. That is a lot of near-death experiences for one woman to have – especially when I worked out she is the only same age as me (OK, I’m no spring chicken, but still.. ).

I Am, I Am, I Am is basically a series of short stories. I don’t like short stories generally, but I was hooked right from the start. It is a very easy read, but also well written and very atmospheric. The stories vary in length, but most of them are very quick to read. Some are more ‘near-death’ than others eg the Aids test was probably never a real risk of death. Many of them though are definitely near-death experiences. Between the late 70s and the noughties, Maggie O’Farrell nearly drowns, suffers a terrible case of dysentery, a very dangerous labour and a lot more besides. Every one of the stories has plenty of context to paint a picture of Maggie’s life at the time – including which country she was living or holidaying in, what job she was doing and her family set-up at the time.

She saves the best until last – the two last (and longest) stories are HEARTBREAKING. There is the story of the childhood illness that nearly killed her at the age of 8 and there is the one and only story which isn’t her own – that of her daughter.

I would never have picked up I Am, I Am, I Am without the encouragement of the Facebook book club, but I am so glad I did. It is a wonderful read and I would recommend it to anyone.

I Am I Am I Am, I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O'Farrell, Maggie O'Farrell, Book review

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I read this and loved it but I do think 17 brushes with death by your mid-40s is a bit excessive. I’ve probably had four, tops …

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    • It’s a fantastic read, isn’t it? 17 near-death experiences is definitely excessive. I’m not sure I’ve even had four – all I can think of is a couple of times when I ran across the road as a child/ teenager and cars had to slam their brakes on.

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  2. That’s an awful lot of near death experiences! I’m intrigued to know what they all are after reading your review. The author’s name sounds familiar, I’m wondering if I’ve read another of her books.


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    • You probably have done, as she’s written quite a lot of books. A few of the near death experiences are a bit tenuous, but most of them are genuine. She’s definitely had a lot more than would be considered normal!

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    • It’s a really interesting read and it is definitely very bad luck to have that many near death experiences.

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  3. This actually sounds like a good book to dip in and out of when you lack time to read #readwithme

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