The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

Grace Padden, Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






“Posthumous publication is probably the product of pity” is the alliterative concept I have adhered to in my bookworm book buys. And this is often true.

But there have been and will always be exceptions to this rule; indeed, I may benefit from such a poor system if I don’t begin to write sometime soon, myself. Dickinson, Austen, Poe, and Larsson constitute a segment of the Elite Exceptions. And perhaps another figure (more modern) should join their ranks.

“The Opposite of Loneliness” is a compilation of essays and short stories by late Yale graduate Marina Keegan. It was compiled by her mother, dorm-mate, and one of her professors after her tragic death in a car crash at the age of 22. Her title essay won multiple awards, and other nonfiction work was published during her lifetime with The New York Times, some of fiction on NewYorker.com. Her book is divided into two segments, both left hauntingly brief by her untimely death. The first half is fiction, and the second a collection of her autobiographical works. And both are stunning.

Her style is bold and candid, but filled with sophomoric, reflective, and elevated segments of prose that highlight her natural talent, and education at Yale. Her incisive wit, irreverent sense of humor, and deep devotion to the honest portrayal of even the strangest experience–real or invented–rings through every sentence and storyline. No subject was too strange for her fiction; she tackled everything from an old woman who strip-teases for a blind man to a young soldier in Iraq reflecting on the nuances of war and collateral damage. The authenticity with which she portrays each moment is astonishing, and her linguistic genius leave “buttons cracking off like tiny moons” and “edamame jeering” from a fortuitous lunch choice in her short fictions “Reading Aloud” and “Sclerotherapy”.

Her nonfiction pieces, which focus on singularly impactful moments from her life break the heart: she dreamed of having children and growing up to write professionally. A fragment of one of her poems encompasses this longing: she wanted “enough time to fall in love with everything”. The forward, by her professor Anne Fadiman, leads us into the book with Keegan’s mantra: “THERE CAN ALWAYS BE A BETTER THING!”

Ms. Keegan was always revising her work, but it has been left as-is to remind us that sometimes legacies and talents are left incomplete. And we have been invited to find inspiration in those unfinished masterpieces. To reflect on the beautiful, the tragic, and the flawed, was surely Ms. Keegan’s intent. It is our job to join her.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Reviews

    McDonald’s Review

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    Review of Van Gogh’s ‘The Potato Eaters”

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    Date & Time Poetry Review

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    Madden 19 Game Review

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    The Truman Show Movie Review

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 Game Review

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Game Review

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    The Aquatic Adventure Of A Lifetime

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    After 5 years, Arctic Monkeys is finally back.

  • The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review

    Arts & Entertainment

    Book Review :The Novice By Taran Matharu

The Opposite of Loneliness Book Review