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Book DetailsISBN: 9781472240750
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Book Review: I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death - The Breathtaking Number One Bestseller by Maggie O'Farrell - Reviewed by CloggieA (07 Nov 2017)
“The knowledge that I was lucky to be alive, that it could so easily have been otherwise, skewed my thinking. I viewed my continuing life as an extra, a bonus, a boon: I could do with it what I wanted. And not only had I tricked death but I had escaped a fate of incapacity. What else was I going to do with my independence, my ambulatory state, except exploit it for all it was worth? … This insouciance stopped the minute I had children, when suddenly I worried that my two-fingered taunts to Death might come back to bite me.”
I Am, I Am, I Am is a memoir by award-winning British author, Maggie O’Farrell. It is subtitled Seventeen Brushes With Death, and in describing these (mostly, but not exclusively, her own) experiences, O’Farrell also, of course, shares many other important moments of her life. As well as describing the situation that led to them, the physical effects they had on her and those close to her, she also notes the change in attitude they caused.
“The people who teach us something retain a particularly vivid place in our memories. I’d been a parent for about ten minutes when I met the man, but he taught me, with a small gesture, one of the most important things about the job: kindness, intuition, touch, and that sometimes you don’t even need words.”
The incidents described happened from age three to adulthood, and no doubt, in years to come, an expanded edition could detail further instances, as O’Farrell does seem to attract them. She described near misses with vehicles, a mugging, juvenile encephalitis, the birth of her first child, near drownings (three!), a knife-throwing act, dysentery-induced dehydration, and an encounter with a murderer.
As with her fiction, O’Farrell’s prose is often exquisite. This is a privileged peek into the life of an amazing author, a moving and fascinating read.
Maggie O'Farrell is the author of seven novels, AFTER YOU'D GONE, MY LOVER'S LOVER, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX, THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE, which won the 2010 Costa Novel Award, INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATWAVE, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award, and THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award. She lives in Edinburgh.
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