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Maggie O’Farrell: I am I am I am

Author: Maggie O’FarrellImage result for i am i am i am

Title: I am I am I am: Seventeen Brushes with Death

Press: Tinder Press (Headline)

Date of Publication: 2017

Date of Purchase: December 2018

RRP: £8.99

Price of Purchase: I don’t remember but I did it through the evil empire (sorry)

Reading Time:  2 days

Rating: 8

So a lot of people have described this book to me as unrelentingly miserable but I had completely the opposite experience. Has she been unlucky in life, absolutely but this hasn’t extinguished her enthusiasm and joy in other parts of it. While it might be easy to see this autobiography as a woe is me everything is terrible kind of saga it is also easy to read it as life affirming and inspiring. Choose your own adventure I guess.

The way Maggie O’Farrell writes is as beautiful in this as in any of her fiction but her approach to biography by moment is truly breathtaking. Each of her encounters with death is couched in enough context to make it instantly engaging and the cadence of her writing is something like breathing for a reader. Piecing together her history through these excerpts in time is an exercise in learning about yourself. The traits she describes in herself as a child, teenager, young adult and mother ring so true that I now feel as though I have met her.

She successfully makes her extraordinary life accessible to the rest of us without condescension. You sense her fierce drive for privacy but this enhances rather than detracts from the reading. What limited access she has given us feels like a blessing and to ask for more would feel invasive and greedy.

I inhaled this book in two sittings and would encourage anyone, whether you have read her non-fiction or not, to pick it up. I am I am I am might reassure you about your own life in ways unexpected, soothe worries about someone you love or just provide you with an outlook on life events you have never considered before but you will find yourself richer for the reading.

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