I Am I Am I Am more than just a collection of memories


Deanna Wichmann, Staff Writer

When you think of a memoir, what exactly pops into your head? Personally, stories of how characters grew up, pivotal events, and an overall view of how they got to where they are are what comes to my mind. Just a collection of memories. I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell intrigued me because it was everything I do not imagine a memoir to be. Despite its bright, happy cover, the book quite literally revolves around death, or her seventeen near-death experiences to be exact.

I had never heard of Maggie O’Farrell, but that didn’t stop me from picking this novel up, and I am so glad I did. You can tell from page one that she is a very gifted writer, one who isn’t afraid to push boundaries in her work. Each chapter begins with a blank page with nothing on it but a different body part. She then goes on to tell of a brush with death dealing with that body part. I will say that some stuff could definitely be triggering for some people. As a young woman, it could be particularly challenging at times because we live in a world where women have to live in a constant state of caution. These things happen every day, and it is terrifying to know that they could happen at any time, to anyone.

The reader gets to follow her from age eight in 1980 to the present day. The present-day chapter was last and differed from the rest, as she spoke about her daughter’s near-death experience instead of her own, which was also not what I expected. Overall, getting to see her growth as a person, seeing her face these challenges, and hearing her concepts of life and death and everything in between was riveting. 

Every once in a while, it seemed she would go on about a certain detail, and it got a bit slow, but just when you think you’re getting bored, it immediately picks up again. In the end I didn’t think a book about death could be so eye-opening about the whole experience of life.

Rating: 4/5 Paws