‘The opposite of loneliness’
The collection of short stories and nonfiction pieces written by the brilliant Marina Keegan evokes a multitude of emotions. The first essay, and inspiration for the title of the compilation, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” is an address to her peers and the graduating class of 2012 from Yale University.
The piece was originally published in a special edition of “The Yale Daily News.” After Keegan’s tragic death, five days after graduating, other works were gathered for publication.
The book is separated into two sections: fiction and non-fiction. Both genres show the off-beat style of Keegan. Stories like “Reading Aloud,” “Sclerotherapy,” and “Baggage Claim” show the unresolved endings Keegan tends to use. The non-fiction pieces include essays such as“Even Artichokes Have Doubts” and “Why We Care about Whales.”
Both fiction and non-fiction essays and stories have a bubbling language that shows the audience characters, scenes and ideas. The reader can see Keegan’s true personality shining through on many pieces. Her sarcasm and dry humor are both endearing and relatable to readers.
From the first sentence of “The Opposite of Loneliness,” Keegan has the audience wrapped around her finger. “We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want out of life.” That initial essay, those first words from Keegan, are enough to make an audience trust. Her face on the cover is confident and humble while her story is tragic and triumphant. These make a reader fall in love. Her unique style and outlandish writing only intensify the need to keep reading.
The tragic loss of Keegan makes her one of the greats who was not largely appreciated until gone. Take this book and remember why reading was fun. Each story or essay is no longer than twenty pages. It’s perfect for a reader who commonly uses the phrase “I don’t have time.”
The collaboration can reach young audiences in a way that Dickens and Twain cannot. This won’t be a mistake to buy or a boring read. Get inside Keegan’s head and you won’t want to get out. Keegan is a one-hit-wonder, but what a hit this is!