Thank you to the publisher for sending me this copy. This did not influence my review in any way.
The Opposite of Loneliness is an affecting collection of stories and essays by Marina Keegan, who died tragically in a car accident only five days after her graduation from Yale. She was already an accomplished writer and left behind a whole catalogue of work, as young budding writers collate. In her memory, her family, friends and teachers put together nine stories and nine essays for this book, titled The Opposite of Loneliness, also the title of an essay she wrote about leaving Yale.
“We’re so young. We’re so young,” she wrote. “We’re only twenty-two. We have so much time.”
Marina’s writing is full of hope and possibility. Through her stories and her essays I really feel like I got to know her through her distinctive voice. And I think I identified with her because I’m her age and my own university graduation is rapidly approaching. She was still working out who she was and where she was going and trying not be overwhelmed by it all. So am I.
She writes like the twenty-one year old she was when most of her pieces were written and continually revised. She writes beautifully but she sounds twenty-one. That’s important to note because she’s not trying to be anything she’s not. She’s full of curiousity and wonder and hope about the world and she has anxieties and fears and uncertainness among that too. She was just feeling her way through the world with her words and although it is an impressive collection she left behind and I enjoyed the read, it makes me sad to think where she could have gone from her and what she might have done, and everything she will miss out on in the future.
After I read the collection, I went back and reread both the Introduction and the title essay, filled with new understanding from the stories and essays I had read. This time I read it through tears in my eyes but I am grateful that I got the chance to read this book. I know this is going to be one that I go back to again and again as I make my own way through this world.
This review is also posted at Crash My Book Party. More reviews there!