I Am, I Am, I Am

O'Farrell, Maggie

  20 Reviews

If a cat's nine lives are worth marvelling at, then Maggie O'Farrell's 'seventeen brushes with death are truly memorable. In this uniquely structured memoir these near-death experiences weave together the story of a whole life.

Flicking between illnesses and accidents, near misses and potentially disastrous encounters, these reflective vignettes, with their many and varied circumstances, remind us of the complexity of identity and experience, and encourage contemplation of one's own mortality. An elegant and life-affirming read. [Larger font]



NELS 040
Those who persevered found this a fascinating way to write a memoir. Others found it all too much.
AUCK 440
Readable but found it a little disjointed and the stories told in a slightly remote way. The reading experience wasn't especially memorable. The stories at the start and end of the book were significant. Some of the stories in the middle were a little more ordinary.
WELL 018
We enjoyed this book in general. We thought it was an interesting way to present an autobiography.
TAPA 001
Our group enjoyed this book. Well-written. Great conversations about our own near misses in life.
DRUM 001
We found it an unusual read. Some chapters were more memorable than others, although all were well-written. She was prepared to take risks many of us would not have taken, but that challenged our thinking.
CHCH 086
Writing excellent. Not enjoyed by all. Some felt it was unbelievable.
Most of our group really enjoyed this book. Great discussion on near death experiences amongst the group. Maggie O'Farrell now on some of the group members' authors to read!
AUCK 277
Three of us gave this book a 5, one gave a rating of 1 1/2, the rest of the group gave it a 4. Most of us could really relate to the book and we loved the author's writing. Fabulous to start the BDS year with such an outstanding book.
AUCK 037
Most members were somewhat disappointed in this memoir - in the sense that they found the author irresponsible, lacking in judgement and careless. The writing is high quality, and most have previously read Maggie O'Farrell's fiction, which they'd enjoyed. Maybe the honesty of the memoir makes it too easy to for us to judge her!
OMAR 001
Most of the group enjoyed it once they got past the boring beginning. The comment made was that if they had read the last couple of chapters first, they would have understood the reason for the book.
CHCH 337
A very popular book in our group! We loved her writing style, and the language was beautiful. An interesting insight into how her 'brushes' with death have shaped her outlook on life, her attitudes to death, and not sweating the small stuff.
CHCH 319
Mixed reviews. Beautiful writing. Some thought repetitive. Some felt it was a good opportunity to reflect on near misses in our own lives.
Mixed response. Those who had read O'Farrell's other books really enjoyed this. Others thought she was incredibly lacking in risk awareness to the level of the foolhardy.
Overall the group enjoyed the book, although the style of back and forth in time was found irritating for some.
CHCH 012
An eventful life. A description of a life marked by both bad luck and poor decision making. This led her into some precarious situations. But both she and her family prevailed.
Everyone enjoyed the writing style, but a few found it annoying! I think this was because she was always having these life-threatening moments, and sometimes they could have been avoided. I personally loved it.
Most of us enjoyed the style of the book and its language. Some had quibbles about the order of the stories/chapters, and would have liked the 2nd to last chapter to be first to explain the rest of the chapters. Also, how did she remember her early experiences Members discussed that for some time, with examples.
CHCH 480
This book had mixed reviews from the group. We were unable to meet to discuss the book, due to COVID 19 lock down. Two of the group did not finish it and one described it as self-indulgent. Those who did finish it enjoyed the memoir and felt the last two chapters brought it all together. Another member who discovered Maggie O'Farrell's writing 20 years ago and has read all her novels, was very moved by the final chapters. Under different circumstances we may have been able to have a more in depth discussion.
CHCH 317
We had interesting feedback on this book - mixed reactions. Most found it a little disjointed, mainly because the events were not in chronological order. The author seemed to be a most unlucky person; the final chapter was quite an impressive insight into living with a child with an extreme allergy. Reading is recommended.
NAP 011
Everyone loved this book. O'Farrell's writing is lyrical, and we couldn't help admiring her bravery, stoicism and lack of self-pity. Equally she was also foolhardy at times, but it all made for great reading.