Monday, August 24, 2015

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories Book Review

Marina Keegan's The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of short stories and essays put  together posthumously. I have been wanting to read this book for ages, ever since I heard about the loss of this brilliant young lady.

If you are unfamiliar with Marina Keegan, she was a talented, lively young writer. She had a very bright future ahead of her: She graduated magma cum laude from Yale in 2012. She was going to work at the New Yorker. A play of hers was going to be at the Fringe Festival. However, Marina passed away in a car accident just 5 days after she graduated. She will undoubtedly be remembered by the works she left behind, captured in The Opposite of Loneliness. The collection contains arguably her most famous work, the essay the book was named after, where she called for her fellow graduates to embrace life wholeheartedly.

I immensely enjoyed Keegan's work. Her first short story, Cold Pastoral, is particularly enticing. I picked it up in a bookshop when I was in Portland and made my boyfriend wait while I finished it in its entirety. The story details a young woman's complicated college relationship with a boy who passes away and how she negotiates her feelings as she tries to move forward with her life.

Keegan writes in a way that makes the reader immediately relate to the characters and story at hand. It is truly one of Keegan's gifts that she can so accurately sum up what it is like to be brilliantly and delightfully young and full of life, in it's complex, fantastic, wistful entirety. I imagine that even if you experienced your youth some time ago, Keegan's powerful words will bring it back to you. 

It is tragic that the one who penned these words that urge us to be more alive, was taken from the wold too soon. 
It is impossible to know where Keegan would have ended up if she lived to a ripe old age. No doubt she would have continued to write. Perhaps she would have become a household name. No doubt, she would have continued to inspire. It is bittersweet that her work touched so many due to the tragedy of her story: hearing about her story allowed her work a wider audience than it may have had otherwise. But in some ways it allows her message to become more clear, more real, more urgent...

There is something about this book that is indescribable. It's a pinch of wisdom, a breath of hope, and a touch of spirit that leaves each person who reads it with a new desire to live their life a little more fiercely... because there was one young lady who lived with passion that has left our world much too soon.
So go on. I'll borrow from Keegan herself when I say, 
Let's make something happen to this world.

Keep Reading!

1 comment:

  1. such a brilliant book and a well-written review on the book too!!


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