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.
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. 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-deprecating 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!?