i am, I am, I am,Seventeen Brushes with Death, book review

Book Review: I Am, I Am, I Am; Seventeen Brushes with Death

I Am, I Am, I Am; Seventeen Brushes with Death

By Maggie O’Farrell

Reviewed by Meilee Anderson


“I Am, I Am, I Am; Seventeen Brushes with Death” memoir made me laugh, smile, and cry. It read like a novel. What a life! In this incredible book, Maggie O’Farrell shared an astonishing 17 brushes with death! The sum total of each encounter felt miraculous to me. This book left me feeling exceptionally glad to be alive. Several times I put the book down to Google more about the book. I kept asking myself, is this a novel? Did this really happen?

Before I continue let me share a trigger warning, “I Am, I Am, I Am; Seventeen Brushes with Death” has two chapters which deal with assault and one chapter that conveys the complex grief from multiple miscarriages.

This beautifully written memoir shocked me with stories from Maggie’s life. Bedridden for a year with a childhood illness so severe she wasn’t expected to survive. An impulse decision as a teenager that nearly ended in a fatal disaster. An innocent hike that nearly ended in a tragic assault. The agony and frustration and near death that resulted from being dismissed by a male doctor who refused to learn about the seriousness of a preexisting condition Maggie had. Each story is positively gripping.

i am, I am, I am,Seventeen Brushes with Death, book review

Our experiences and how we respond to them mark our lives and psyches. This book put me in a contemplative mood, remembering the few times in my own life in which I had a narrow escape. How afterward the feeling of gratitude coursed through my veins in a visceral pulse. The grace with which the author relieved her encounters impressed me. She transported me to each moment in time, my heartrate literally quickened throughout the book.

Daisy Donovan narrated the 6-hour long audiobook. I enjoyed listening to her lovely reading of “I Am, I Am, I Am; Seventeen Brushes with Death”. I’d would happily listen to other audiobooks narrated by Daisy Donovan. I very much liked the fluid prose of Maggie O’Farrell. I would gladly read other titles from her. There isn’t a shortage of titles to choose from, she’s written several books.

“What I wish I had known, age twenty-one, as I cycled away from the results board towards the meadow by the river in Cambridge, where I would throw stones into the water and cry, is that nobody ever asks you what degree you got. It ceases to matter the moment you leave university. That the things in life which don’t go to plan are usually more important, more formative, in the long run, than the things that do.”

― Maggie O’Farrell, I Am, I Am, I Am

“I Am, I Am, I Am; Seventeen Brushes with Death” gets two thumbs up and 4 stars.

More about the author here

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