Book by: Marina Keegan
Review by: Jessica McCabe
The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of stories written by a young talent, Marina Keegan, whose life was lost before she could accomplish a lot of her dreams and start her job at The New Yorker magazine. Five days after her graduation from Yale University, Keegan was killed in a car accident. Ready to take on the world and make her mark, one wonders what she could have accomplished with more time on this Earth. This collection of stories, both fiction and non-fiction, that was published posthumously, allowed her talent to be shared with the world.
Keegan’s stories in this work show the complexities of human relationships, the struggles and blissful times of young love and also gives insight about what it is like to be young and working to find one’s life goals and place in the world. The title essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, has the ability to hit home with a lot of college students in its honesty, sense of hope, and the feeling of fear that lies in the real world that is outside of the walls of college life. She describes the built in network of friends and the fun times that you have with those friends. While the fear of moving forward from this experience may be frightening, Keegan tells readers “the best years of life are not behind us” (p. 2), proving that there is more to life than college, and that she believes that her generation will achieve great things in their future.
The concluding essay is about her attendance at a conference, where she felt as if she was the only one without business cards. She then begins to talk about death and in a chilling last line writes, That she will find a tall tower and shout into a microphone introducing herself (p. 208). In a way, this collection of stories and essays is Keegan’s “business card” to the world, introducing her talent.
This book would be useful to advisors and in the college setting in a first year seminar or experience program as a common reader. It could also be recommended to a young aspiring writer to show evidence of one’s work being published at a young age. If a student is struggling with what is to come after college and what job they will land, moving away from their close friends, and what the future holds for them, the title essay is especially motivating and stirs up hope for what the future has in store. While this does not provide direct advice or tools for advisors, the message behind these stories are motivating and full of human emotion and thought that we can all relate to, including our students.
The Opposite of Loneliness (2014). Book by Marina Keegan, Scribner (Simon and Schuster). Review by Jessica McCabe 240 pp., $23.00, (Paperback), ISBN #978-1-476-75361-4