Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Alice's Review: The Opposite of Loneliness

Author: Marina Keegan
Series: None
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 240
Obtained: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Essays, Short Stories
Rating: 4
Bottom Line: A wonderful collection by a talented young woman.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary:  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.

Review:  I didn't know anything about Marian Keegan before I began reading this collection. I chose it simply because I am a lover of short stories. Upon beginning, I was shocked to learn of Ms. Keegan’s premature death at the age of 22 from a car accident.

I just loved The Opposite of Loneliness, the essay this collection was named after. It did something to me when I read it, like goose bumps/twisted insides kind of something. It was so good, so wonderful and so sad knowing the outcome of Ms. Keegan’s life. Having an author explain what she wants from life, knowing that her own was cut so short is heartbreaking.

I enjoyed the fiction stories more than the non-fiction essays. Each of the fiction stories was better than the last. My favorites were Baggage Claim, Sclerotherapy, and the eerie Challenger Deep. I loved, loved, loved Challenger Deep and read it 3 times before moving onto the next story. Of the non-fiction collection, I just loved “I Kill for Money.” There was only one essay I didn’t enjoy at all called Even Artichokes Have Doubts. It was too scientific and read more like a school paper than anything else. It lacked the soul the others possessed. I will admit my eyes glazed over after a couple of pages and I skipped the rest of it altogether.

I believe anyone who enjoys short stories and observations will benefit from this collection. It is beautifully written and full of soul. It is a shame Marina Keegan was taken so soon. I can only imagine what other greatness would have come from her because The Opposite of Loneliness is just about perfect.



Beth Hoffman April 2, 2014 at 1:18 PM  

I've recently become a fan of short stories and essays. This one sounds wonderful. You've sold me!

Alice April 3, 2014 at 8:51 AM  

I think you will enjoy it, Beth!

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