Book Review: I am I am I am by Maggie O’Farrell

This is the story of O’Farrell’s life described through her brushes with death, told out of order, and with glimpses of her life peeking through each tale.



I really wanted to love this book. I was describing it to my other half whilst reading it, and couldn’t understand from my own description why I was just enjoying it but not loving it. I’m still not sure, perhaps the madness of the outside world hampered my enjoyment, I don’t know. Nonetheless, I will gladly recommend this well written, engaging, emotional memoir. This is the story of O’Farrell’s life described through her brushes with death, told out of order, and with glimpses of her life peeking through each tale.

Her writing and descriptions are excellent, drawing me in and setting each scene well. Impressively, given the constant prescence of death throughout, this is not a depressing read. There are some scenes that are hard to read: the chapter about her first and subsequent miscarriages have really stuck with me. Despite this there is a love of life and a sense of humour throughout.

I had picked this up on a kindle offer some time ago, and when I went to read this I only skimmed the description prior to starting the book. Somehow, I missed the key word of memoir on the cover. I spent far more of the book than I should probably admit thinking this was a novel. If nothing else hopefully that proves the book is certainly readable and not at all dry! I’m embarrassed to admit that I started to lose interest after a while finding the number of near misses too high, the style a little gimmicky and some of the brushes with death a bit unbelievable-following one after another as they did.

Knowing it is a memoir, has instead left me impressed at the author’s resilience. Although this is a memoir about near death experiences, the message to keep getting up and carrying on seems like a positive and apt one for the time we have found ourselves in.



Some parting thoughts:

  • That opening chapter is chilling when I think back on it.
  • I hope that I am right in saying, from my own experience, that the version of the NHS and consultants that the author describes no longer exists, or are very much in a minority.
  • I would be happy to hear any recommendations for this authors novels after reading her memoir.

Has anyone else read this? Did you enjoy it? Am I the only one who felt it read like a novel?

Author: Gilt and Dust

Self confessed bibliophile. I enjoy collecting books almost as much as reading them resulting in a to-read pile that would undoubtedly be several times my height if I was suicidal enough to stack them. I like reading whodunnits, lesser known (and some well known) female writers, old children's novels, urban fantasy, fairytales and memoirs.

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