The Opposite of Loneliness

The Opposite of Loneliness
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There are books that take me chapters to start enjoying, books I never enjoy at all, and books that grab me hook, line and sinker within a few pages. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan was the latter of all three: pure brilliance for a work of only partly edited short essays that spoke to me, and I’m sure, my generation.

The Opposite of Loneliness

The Opposite of Loneliness

Marina writes with years of maturity, set in the context of modern adulthood. Her short essays in this book consist of both fiction and non-fiction, giving you a small window into the life behind the author, whilst keeping you guessing as to who she was and what she was all about.Β Far from an enigma, Marina makes herself, her views and her life goals very clear from the outset. But with a mind so busy and wildly imaginitive, I found myself soaring through this book with constant intrigue.

Fair to say, I loved Marina’s story just as much as I loved the stories she wrote.

I’ve read the reviews on this book and not to my shock, they’re fairly mixed. Some readers love her concisely written narratives, others are quick to criticise her prose. Then there are the readers who claim her work only shot to success following the tragedy of her death – a poor accusation to make for such a talented aspiring writer who used her natural voice to convey the dramas and dilemmas of our interwebs generation.

Whatever you thought of the book, that’s great. Go you. If you’ve given it a read and formed your own conclusion, all power to you. For me: I loved the book. I didn’t love every single essay as much as the other and at times I found Keegan’s writing hard to connect to or find rhythm to, but after a few blurred sentences I always found myself falling back in love with her rawness.

Questions for Discussion:

How did you feel about the short story nature of this book – a collection of short essays?

Did you feel yourself connecting more with some essays over others?

Did you feel vulnerability in the author’s characters – like many were self-deprecatingΒ and very self aware? Do you think this is due to the age of the author – that many of us in our early twenties are still stuck figuring ourselves out, let alone someone else trying to?

Do you believe Marina Keegan’s work would have been realised if not for her untimely death?

Did you love, hate, or sit on the fence with this book?


I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on this one! I don’t want the questions to dampen the mood on this book (which I believe was truly fabulous), but after reading so many mixed reviews, I’d love to hear what you thought and why!?

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    September 10, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Adding this to my travel reading list. Such a tragedy to lose a strong voice so young, but it’s a gift to be able to read her essays even if they are rough around the edges. I have a feeling I’ll appreciate them more for their blemishes. Thanks for the recommendation!

    September 9, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    I read this book over the summer, I picked it up in a university bookstore and I couldn’t put it down. It’s such a sad reminder that life is truly uncertain. I think her tragedy is sadly what makes this book more relevant. Although there are a number of other talented writers or artists that have died you and are never heard from again because they didn’t go to Yale. Even still, she has a powerful voice for her generation

    • Brooke Saward
      September 10, 2016 at 7:48 am

      Totally agree Steph! “She has a powerful voice for her generation” is spot on… and the circumstances around her works being published put her in even more of a position to reach our generation – life is short!

    September 7, 2016 at 12:10 am

    nice post.. i like it

    The Losing Struggle
    September 2, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I didn’t read this one yet, but I looked it up and I’m really interested.
    Thanks for sharing this one.

    Have a nice weekend!
    Celien |

    snapchat emoji
    August 31, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Good post! Thanks for sharing. Really very useful and informative post.

    Jill @ RunEatSnap
    August 31, 2016 at 3:50 am

    I did not love it! I didn’t even finish it, honestly. I was confused by “is this a true story or not?” and the stories not flowing together. I guess I am more of a novel/memoir person than short stories!

    August 31, 2016 at 2:57 am

    I do think that the book would not have been a success it not for her tragic story, however, that doesn’t meant the writing is not good . I connected much more to her nonfiction than her fiction. I think the honesty in her nonfiction shines through. Her fiction struggled (and as a nonfiction writer trying to write fiction myself, I completely understand this). I think if she was still alive and writing today, her writing would’ve gotten much better. She also seemed to have the drive to push forward so I think with that attitude, she would’ve been successful.

    August 30, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Seems awesome

    Hannah Louey
    August 30, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I read this book as part of your bookclub and while I didn’t love it, I do think she had real potential as a writer. I think, for people who criticised this book, we have to remember that she was very young when she wrote these, not to mention she didn’t have the same time or team behind her that most books have (as someone who works in publishing, I can say firsthand that ALOT more goes on behind-the-scenes than you’d think), which is why bits were unpolished. Overall, I found it very easy to read, although I liked her essays more than her fiction pieces. Definitely, if she hadn’t had died so young, she definitely would have gone on to great things.

    August 30, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Marina has a really interesting story, and as such a promising young writer she would have surely found success in life. We can only wonder how she would have grown as a writer in adulthood. I don’t know that this book would have been published, or that it contains the stories she would have most liked to put her name to. Regardless, I’m grateful someone made the effort to publish the works of such a talented young writer.