I Am, I Am, I Am is a collection of short stories based on the authors near-death experiences which I had seen on the Goodreads Giveaway site (sadly I did not win but was able to borrow it from the library). The tales spanned from her childhood encephalitis, teenaged near drowning, traumatic labour and delivery experience and ended with the frantic story of her daughter’s experience with exzema, allergies and anaphylaxis.
Each story is preceded by a picture of a body part that is impacted in the story. It is a quick read and the stories are a combination of timing, decisions and circumstances that help a reader to appreciate and be grateful for a life that can quickly change or be lost.
O’Farrell, who lives in Edinburgh and is the author of 7 novels, seemed to provide an honest account of her near-death experiences. I question why the experiences were not placed in sequential order. Understanding her childhood experience with the encephalitis would have helped the reader understand later events impacted by the lasting neurologic deficits.
My only other query was why she ended with the story of her daughter. It was very descriptive of the challenges she experienced as a parent, watching her daughter struggle, but was an outlier in the midst of the rest of the collection which were about her own near-death experiences.
This is a quick read if you feel like pondering and reflecting on life and our own vulnerability.