I am, I am, I am: Seventeen brushes with death – Maggie O’Farrell

This isn’t a book I would have chosen to buy but when a friend recommended it and left his copy of the book with me it seemed churlish not to read it.

The book is made up of 17 chapters, each about a near death experience mostly by the author but the final chapter about her daughter.

Some of the chapters are enough to give you nightmares if you stop and think about them too much; an encounter with a creepy man who is later arrested for the murder of another young woman, a plane nearly crashing when you’re a passenger, being held up by a machete wielding man in Chile.  Other chapters tell of difficult periods in O’Farrell’s life with a down to earth matter of factness.

As a memoir it gives one an insight into the author that a more traditional autobiography might not.  I feel I have learned something about her from the way she writes of her reactions to the memory of these events.  It would, however, be good to know how she reacts to the more positive events in her life.

The most harrowing chapter of the book is that about her daughter and the horrible things the family go through with the daughters severe allergies, eczema and anaphylaxia.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have to watch a beloved child suffer in this way.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book.  I prefer a full, more in-depth biography and, preferably, one about someone I’ve heard of.  I still wouldn’t choose to buy a book like this.  But it was an interesting experience and I believe we should always try something different one in a while.

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