One of the first books to give me goosebumps, I Am, I Am, I Am is Maggie O’Farrell’s collection of memoirs on her “seventeen brushes with death”.
I was drawn in by the concept of the book and the author's prose from the start. O’Farrell’s writing oozes through you, like it is becoming a part of you and you are meant to be reading it. I seemed to be able to see and sense every detail of her recounts, to the point where I can’t say I enjoyed them, as they were dark and sad and scary, but I definitely felt them.
I admit that I was confused towards the middle. The book was indeed thought-provoking. I kept asking myself, “why are these stories relevant?”, “why a collection of near death experiences?” and “is this book a stroke of genius or merely a writing exercise published in a paperback form?”. However, the second last chapter called ‘Cerebellum’ spoke to me deeply. Perhaps because this chapter was about her being ill as a child, and for myself who had a traumatic period of illness at a young age, it connected the book to my own feelings, and everything seemed to make sense.
I am going to have to have this book on my mind for a while. It’s that strange situation where in my gut I don’t feel like the book was in any way amazing, however the writing flowed through me and provoked thoughts and feelings that I cannot shake.
How I rate this book? Undecided. I am torn, but I am touched, which makes me think that this book was indeed that stroke of genius, and perhaps we will each be taken away by a certain chapter, relating it to our own lives and changing the way we think about strength and death.