I recently finished this book The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, which I’ve had on my shelf for quite some time. I initially picked this up last year, because it was on the New York Times list, and was very popular. I thought it was just a book of essays and short stories, but there was more to it. The girl on the cover of this book is the author Marina Keegan.
An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world’s attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.
Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.
As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.
Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.
I never read the blurb for this so when I read in the first few pages that she died in a car accident just 4 days after her graduation. I felt so sad, because to lose a life at such a young age with so many dreams, and aspirations that were yet to be fulfilled is devastating. The introduction is excellent and tells you just how good the author was and how much she could have contributed to literature. I really enjoyed the essays and non-fiction stories, but I have to be honest. This book shows the writers potential and what she could’ve become as she honed her craft and continued to write. It wasn’t the exemplary writing that I heard so much about, but that’s understandable because she was growing as a writer everyday. Her writing would sometimes be very intriguing and insightful, but other times it dragged on. At the end of it all Marina’s writing is fresh and youthful. She was trying to bring attention to the things we ignore on a regular basis, and build a better world.
I would recommend this collection to anyone who is interested in contemporary writing or essay collections. Some of these stories are rather haunting because Keegan talks about her own demise. One thing I took away from this book was inspiration. Her stories made me want to keep writing and working to make my stories and essays as great as they could be. If you decide to read this book let me know what you think about it. I think anyone that reads it would get something out of it.