A memoir told through seventeen near death experiences. Wow. Some of these stories just floored me. Maggie O’Farrell has had a lot of adventures, and not all of them very much fun. This is a fascinating look at her life, and the way she has chosen to present her memoir is brilliant.
As much as I want to dissect many of the different stories, I won’t. I don’t want you to read this book already knowing the outcome, or surprises, or the details. It’s a much better experience to take O’Farrell’s hints about things she hasn’t fully told you about yet… and wait for her to get around to that bit.
The seventeen stories are not ordered chronologically. We are time travelling through O’Farrell’s life and piecing the timeline together ourselves. Each story is named for the body part involved in the near death part of each story. The beginning of each chapter has an accompanying medical illustration, and I loved these. The book title is from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath:
I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
I Am, I Am, I Am is brilliantly moving, unbelievable – yet believable, jaw dropping, tense, and magical. So much is horrendous, but there are moments of sheer joy. There are true quiet heroes in I Am, I Am, I Am.
I loved how O’Farrell took every near death moment in her stride – though I feared for her recklessness too! Some moments are truly chilling. Come and find me when you’ve read it too, then we can talk about it!