The Opposite of Loneliness...A review.
An extremely sad, but very necessary fact: Marina Keegan, the author of this book, was killed in a car accident five days after she graduated magna cum laude from Yale. When I opened this book and began to read, I kept thinking to myself, "I'm not going to be able to read a word of this without thinking about how sad this is."
But I was wrong.
Not because it isn't a devastating tragedy, but because it was genuinely that good. It's a collection of essays and though some were stronger than others, I didn't think about Keegan being gone, I thought about the excellent stories I was reading.
She had a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. That's really freaking impressive. And so is this book. I loved what one of her professors said in the intro, "Many of my students sound forty years old. They are articulate, but derivative, their own voices muffled by their desire to skip o ver the current age and experience ... Marina was twenty-one and sounded twenty-one: a brainy twenty-one, a twenty-one who knew her way around the English language, a twenty-one who understood that there were few better subjects than being young and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful."
I felt strong pangs of nostalgia and grief while I read this book. I also laughed out loud and took notes of good wordplay. Marina inspired me to write and to be good. She is another reminder that age doesn't matter and neither do years of experience. She made me realize you can have a body of work at the age of 22. You can be young and be flat-out good. I'm so appreciative for her dedication at such a young age to those things and also to the people who took the time to compile her writings.
Who is this book for?
Aspiring writers: Yes.
Grown-up writers: Yes.
High school kids: Yes.
College students: Yes.
Everyone else: Yes.
What does this book say?
A lot of time was spent being consciously romantic: making sushi, walking places, waiting too long before responding to texts. I fluctuated between adding songs to his playlist and wondering if I should stop hooking up with people I was 80 percent into.
I remember making two observations during the twenty minutes my friends and I hung around the concert and sipped beers: one, that I wanted her outfit, and two, that she was skinnier than me, a quality that made her instantly less likable.
Every generation thinks it's special--my grandparents because they remember World War II, my parents because of discos and the moon. We have the Internet ... Vaguely, quietly, we know we'll be famous. For being president, for starring in a movie, for writing a feature at eighteen in the New York Times.