The Opposite of Loneliness is a short story collection by Marina Keegan. The book has a mix of both fiction and non fiction pieces. The introduction essay was written by Marina for her college newspaper regarding her class’s upcoming graduation. She discusses the idea that they are still so young and have a life filled with opportunity ahead of them. What makes this essay so powerful is Marina died in an automobile accident just five days after graduating. I couldn’t hold back the tears when I found out about the young author’s tragic early passing. Her initial essay, combined with our knowledge of her fate really makes you stop and take assessment of your own life. What have I not done yet that I have always wanted to do? What am I waiting for?
The first part of the book are the fiction pieces. They are short and several follow the story lines of young characters just finding their footing in the world. The first story hits you with raw emotion when not even two pages in, the main character’s boyfriend/lover/friends with benefits suddenly passes away. She has to quite suddenly struggle with his death and also the insertion of her boyfriend’s ex girlfriend who he had been seeing long term before our narrator. How does she fit into the equation as the girl who wasn’t quite defined as girlfriend while mourning her love? The stories are fast and gripping and not without serious, raw emotion.
The second part of the book is the non fiction section. These stories are factual from Marina’s life, mostly from her college years. Her prose is conversational and you will feel like she is sitting in the room telling you her stories. While they are her personal experiences, she deftly takes them and relates them to the current world and makes you relate to them in an ordinary way.
I would highly recommend this collection of stories, they will make you laugh, cry and reassess your own unfinished dreams in life.