Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death” as Want to Read:
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death

by
really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  13,372 ratings  ·  2,016 reviews
I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference - the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman's life in near-death experiences. Intelligent, insightful, inspirational, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life's fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage year
...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Tinder Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I Am, I Am, I Am, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cavak Yes. I think it's even quoted within the book too.
Melissa Davis “‘Why, yes,' he said, 'I know of a cure for everything: salt water.'
"'Salt water?' I asked him.
"'Yes,' he said, 'in one way or the other. Sweat, or…more
“‘Why, yes,' he said, 'I know of a cure for everything: salt water.'
"'Salt water?' I asked him.
"'Yes,' he said, 'in one way or the other. Sweat, or tears, or the salt sea.'
~Seven Gothic Tales(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,372 ratings  ·  2,016 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
karen
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best memoir/autobiography 2018! what will happen?

At the time, I gaze up at the sky, the birds, the fast-moving clouds, and I am thinking about the dense forest behind us, about how I do not want to be dragged in there, not at all. I do not want to see the trees closing over my head, feel the scratch and pluck of bushes against my skin, my clothes, the cold damp of the ground in there. My thoughts are very simple. They pulse through my head: let me g
...more
Angela M
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I have read three of her novels and count Maggie O’Farrell as one of my favorite writers and I know I have to get to those that I haven’t read. This memoir is as beautifully written as her novels. O’Farrell shares with us some very personal experiences, memories of times in her life when she was in danger, close to death. As in her novels, she had me feeling and thinking about the complexities of life, sometimes the danger that lies near all of us. While she writes about things that happened to
...more
Debbie
OMG OMG OMG! Pogo stick time!

Dear Maggie O’Farrell,

I’m bouncing high, zigzagging through your 17 brushes with death. Barefoot because my socks were knocked off. I can’t stop! Yep, I’m downright manic! What an amazing memoir you wrote! One of the best books I’ve read this year!

I am I am I am absolutely in love with your book. I can’t help it that I’m stuttering. It’s that or remain speechless, which isn’t my style.

My brain is on fire! Matchy-matchy: My head, your language. Oh, your tone! The way
...more
Elyse Walters
Unless a ‘memoir’ literally shifts me -changes my thinking - transforms me in some major way -
I tend to retreat to my standard 3 star rating.

I didn’t equally ‘enjoy’ each story in this collection -
It’s a mix collection for me.
A few stories felt embellished.
In the middle of the book - I started to feel as if I had enough. A couple of the stories felt a little narcissistic—
....but then I felt sad for Maggie’s sick child - heck I felt awful for Maggie, too, when ‘she’ was a child in the hospita
...more
Amalia Gavea
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
‘’There is nothing unique or special in a near-death experience. They are not rare; everyone, I would venture, has had them, at one time or another, perhaps without even realising it.’’

How difficult it is to write a text about a memoir...No matter if you liked it or not, no matter whether you shared the writer’s views or not, a memoir is a testament of someone’s heart and soul and how can anyone dissect it so light-heartedly? This memoir by Maggie O’Farrell is one of the most poignant, powerfu
...more
Candi
"We are, all of us, wandering about in a state of oblivion, borrowing our time, seizing our days, escaping our fates, slipping through loopholes, unaware of when the axe may fall."

One day early in February, we had a rare day of sun and sixty degrees after having just endured subzero temperatures the week before… brrr! I could not get my sneakers on fast enough. I ran out the door without a jacket to get a little fresh air and exercise. Now, I very rarely listen to audiobooks. Don’t get me wrong,
...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
Love her fiction so wanting to read her memoir was a no brainier. A different take for sure as she recounts the near death experiences she has encountered in her life. Reading this made me think of all the mishaps I have had, that could have turned fatal. Something I think we all share to various degrees.

Honest and open are the two words I thought of while reading this. The things she shares, private moments, secrets she had held close, but now share. Yet, it her experiences with motherhood that
...more
Esil
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ew
I have never read any of Maggie O’Farrell’s fiction. It is not for lack of good intentions. I have certainly heard good things about her writing, which is what made me jump at chance to read an advance copy of this brief memoir.

At first blush, the way O’Farrell has chosen to organize her memoir is odd. Each chapter is focused on a near death experience. The chapters are out of chronological order. And while each chapter deals with a particular experience, it meanders to many other parts of O’Far
...more
Lucy Langford
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4****

"We are, all of us, wandering about in a state of oblivion, borrowing our time, seizing our days, escaping our fates, slipping through loopholes, unaware of when the axe may fall.”

This is the memoir of Maggie O'Farrel documenting the near bushes of death that have been riddled through out her life. Each chapter introduces a different time and age of the author and her experiences grazing near to death. We are witness to the encounters with death that the author has endured, for example; nea
...more
JanB
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author has certainly led an interesting and adventurous life! This book is a series of essays, all related to her near brushes with death and uniquely titled according to the body part that nearly did her in: cranium, lungs, circulatory system, etc. She is either extraordinarily unlucky or her admittedly risky lifestyle makes her more vulnerable than most. Or maybe it’s a little of both.

As with any essay collection, some of the stories resonated with me more than others but they are all beau
...more
Zoeytron
Memoirs are not my thing, but I was unable to ignore a couple of my GR friends' fine reviews for this book.  It's good to amble over to a different genre from time to time.  This one will have you looking back at the times of your life for near misses, and how your decisions may have changed your direction, if only slightly.  

I am not a lover of memoirs in general, but

I am glad to have read this one.

I am returning to the dark side now. 
Dem
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, memoir
I am a fan of Maggie O' Farrell Novels and love her descriptive writing. Her story telling is unique and fresh. Her latest book is totally different as it's a memoir that is quirky, interesting, honest, revealing and vivid.

Told through 17 near death experiences that the author experienced throughout her life, you find yourself reading with bated breath as O Farrell draws you in with words and descriptions that make the reading experience very real and poignant.

At O’Farrell’s near-catastrophic
...more
Hannah
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I might have been too excited about this. I have been looking forward to this memoir ever since I first saw this stunning cover. I finally caved in and bought myself a copy and started it the moment it arrived. And I enjoyed this. But it wasn’t quite the revelation I was maybe expecting.

I love the framing of this memoir: Maggie O’Farrell tells her story as a series of essays, each concentrating on a near death experience. I do like memoirs that play with format and I enjoyed the unchronological
...more
Veronica ⭐️
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, true-story
I am Iam Iam is moving extracts from a life less ordinary; a life lived to the full.

”Is this your life?” She asks.
“It’s not......it’s just......snatches of a life. A string of moments. Some chapters will be long. Others might be really short.”


The chapters are at times terrifying and at other times heart breaking. These short snippets of a life give an insight into the personal life of Maggie O’Farrell and really show the reader who she is.

O’Farrell shows us that real people, just like you and I,
...more
Lotte
4.5/5. There were three things that made this book stand out to me:
- The nonlinear narrative structure – the seventeen chapters, the eponymous "seventeen brushes with death", are told non-chronologically, all covering a certain point in Maggie O'Farrell's life spanning from early childhood until now. It was never confusing to read, but made for an interesting and wholly original account of a life.
- The writing style, which I fell in love with from page one. It's absolutely beautiful written wi
...more
Kelli
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking, human. This unique memoir is a chronicle of self-awareness, of gratitude, of grace, of luck, of strength, of pain, of living. It is list after fascinating list of figurative places you, too have been and feelings you, too have felt. And for those with which you have had no experience, you come away pulsating with understanding at a confounding level. Her essay “Baby and Bloodstream” is the most affecting and honest look at pregnancy loss I’ve ever read, ha ...more
Carol
I AM, I AM, I AM is a uniquely written compilation of near death experiences....close calls....illustrated chapter by chapter with the body part connected to the incident.

Some stories will break your heart, some will make you question her choices, and a couple others will absolutely give you the creeps....like OMG, the man on the path in the woods. Maggie used her head and saved her own bacon in this one!

An escapologist as a child, a risk taker and traveler as an adult, I am, I am, I am, tells

...more
Skyler Autumn
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars

Maggie O'Farrell cleverly uses her near death experiences as a sort of bench marker for her life and as a catalyst to veer into other aspects ranging from her family, to her childhood, to her romantic relationships in order to paint a much larger picture of her life as a whole.

This book is really captivating and descriptively written as every near death experience leaves you with a range of emotions. I found the first chapter (about meeting a deadly stranger in the middle of desolate
...more
Beverly
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheri
”And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind”

-- Suzanne, Leonard Cohen, Songwriters: Leonard Cohen


When I saw that this book was one of the choices in the Best Book of the Year awards for goodreads, I wanted to squeeze this one in today, and I’m so glad that I did. A brilliant memoir that doesn’t really read like a memoir, the writing is her standard beautiful, brutally honest, somewhat bare-bon
...more
Michael
British novelist O’Farrell provides us an unusual collection of personal essays on the theme of near-death experiences in her life, with each chapter headed by an image and label for the relevant vital organ. From her childhood we get the events and aftermath reactions of nearly getting run down by a car while crossing a road, nearly getting caught by her mother slamming a car trunk, and serious bout of encephalitis. As an adolescent, near drownings after jumping off a pier or getting caught in ...more
Idarah
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fullsizeoutput_780
"I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am."—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I thoroughly enjoyed this unique take on a memoir! I've never read any of O'Farrell's books, and I'm so glad I started here. O'Farrell recalls seventeen close brushes with death at various points in her life, dividing each chapter into both year and organ(s) that was endangered.

The writing was so compelling and the language beautiful, that I could have easily read this in one sitting. H
...more
Jenna
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death is a beautifully written memoir about life and death, about the fragility and preciousness of life when death lurks just around the corner.

At first I was really annoyed with this book as I thought that it was about the author having almost died 17 times. It is not. Most of the instances she writes about are normal and frequent occurrences -- she "could" have been hit by a car as a child, she "could" have died in childbirth if she was living in a ti
...more
Helene Jeppesen
I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. Properly explain my feelings about this book :)
Jess | thegreeneyedreader
3.8 stars - I’m still processing this book. I listened to the audiobook and it was very powerful.

I did not like the switching from first person to third person narrative or the way the sporadic timeline, which at times felt linear and then suddenly wasn’t.

However, I was captivated by the interesting and terrifying brushes with death the author has experienced. Some were small, and some were so crazy that most people will never encounter (I.e. the serial killer story). I also related to her exp
...more
Bianca
This was my first taste of Maggie O'Farrell's writing.

I Am, I Am, I Am is a unique memoir written as a collection of essays or short stories.
Unlike most memoirs, it doesn't have a linear trajectory but that didn't inhibit my reading experience, if anything, it enhanced my enjoyment.

This memoir is made up of stories of near-death experiences and it's quite the assortment of such experiences, including almost getting run over by a car; near-drownings; having a machete to her throat in a South Ame
...more
Betsy Robinson
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Betsy by: Debbie
I Am, I Am, I AM is an emotionally astounding book that ends in one of the most gut-wrenchingly powerful assertions of life I’ve ever read.

But I Am, I Am, I Am isn’t a great book because Maggie O’Farrell has had such a dramatic life (although she has) and has so many harrowing stories to tell. It is a great book because O’Farrell is a wonderful storyteller, which means that she sees the connections between events in her life and has a journalist’s gift for weaving them together through exquisite
...more
Diane
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is impossibly lovely. I was so enchanted by Maggie O'Farrell's gorgeous writing that I've been gushing about it to friends.

However, the subject of this memoir also made me anxious. Maggie shares seventeen stories in which she brushed with death, including a serious childhood illness, two near-drownings, a dangerous childbirth, and scary encounters with violent men while out hiking.

I don't remember how I first heard about this book, but I'm so glad I crossed paths with it. Despite the s
...more
Lisa
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrifying book. Yet the essays are as life-affirming as the title suggests. I Am, I Am, I Am is an exuberant, chilling shout that life is as wonder-filled as it is fragile. Maggie O'Farrell is a stupendously gifted writer. I love, love, love this book.
Umut Reviews
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my God, this book! If you like memoirs, I can't recommend it enough. It's probably one of my favourite memoirs I've ever read.
It was also my first novel by O'Farrell. It definitely won't be the last. It was about her many near death experiences. Creatively, she titled them with which part of the body was in danger.
The first chapter was to effective to grip you in the book. Her writing impressed me a lot. She has a style of pulling you in the book, move you with all the emotions she put in t
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • All Things Consoled: A Daughter's Memoir
  • The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography
  • Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading
  • Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage
  • Morningstar: Growing Up With Books
  • Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere But Here
  • The Art of Vanishing: A Memoir of Wanderlust
  • The Slippery Year
  • Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love
  • In the Slender Margin: The Intimate Strangeness of Dying
  • After the Eclipse: A Mother's Murder, a Daughter's Search
  • Mexican Hooker #1: And My Other Roles Since the Revolution
  • Heating  Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs
  • The Widower's Notebook: A Memoir
  • The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading
  • On Trying to Keep Still
  • Dear Current Occupant
  • To Throw Away Unopened
1,974 followers
Maggie O'Farrell (born 1972, Coleraine Northern Ireland) is a British author of contemporary fiction, who features in Waterstones' 25 Authors for the Future. It is possible to identify several common themes in her novels - the relationship between sisters is one, another is loss and the psychological impact of those losses on the lives of her characters.
“We are, all of us, wandering about in a state of oblivion, borrowing our time, seizing our days, escaping our fates, slipping through loopholes, unaware of when the axe may fall.” 29 likes
“That the things in life which don't go to plan are usually more important, more formative, in the long run, than the things that do” 14 likes
More quotes…