The Opposite of Loneliness

When I realized I was way behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge for this year I thought I´d use the wider choice of bookshops in Cologne to find a new book. In store one book just immediately spoke to me. The Opposite of Loneliness is an inconspicuous looking book with its simple cover but something about the title intrigued me. Honestly, when people talk about the books that changed them I was always worried because I couldn´t put more than one book on my list. However, now I can at least list two because The Opposite of Loneliness is definitely a book that had a massive impact on my life.

Marina Keegan died in a car crash five days after her graduation magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. The Opposite of Loneliness is a book featuring fiction as well as non-fiction works of Marina put together by her mentor at Yale and her parents. The book is named after her last essay for the Yale Daily News which went viral back in 2012. To be frank, this essay and it´s viral impact had gone completely over my head. I was very happy to find out it was included in this book as well as words from Marina´s mentor, her high school teacher and her parents. I never knew Marina but from her writing and what other people wrote about her she seems like a wonderful young woman. Intelligent, a little bit sassy, rebellious, ambitious, open-minded, creative, affirmative, stubborn, confident, thoughtful, with a strong opinion and mind. Her writing is absolutely beautiful and thought provoking (and these are not even completely finished pieces of her work).


Fiction
This book features a range of 9 fiction stories which discuss a variety of different topics. All of the stories feel real. They don´t have happy endings or are cheesy in any way. They´re messy, complicated and abrupt just like life is. They´re also really dark and thoughtful underneath which is something I find so intriguing. Her characters are complicated and complex and I´ve found none of them completely lovable which is why I love them so much. They´re real, not some dreamy version of real that we fall in love with. They have complex backstories and thoughts.

I absolutely loved Marina´s stories. They are so thought provoking mainly because they´re not about what you might think at first. She knew how to implement subtext in the best possible way. Her stories often feature a deeper topic than what you might read on paper. They have often left me sitting there and just thinking about everything in a different way. Also her choice of characters and storylines seems so well thought-out and so diverse; I´m amazed by it. Two stories that have particularly stuck in my head are Reading Aloud, about a woman reading to a blind man, and Challenger Deep, about the crew of a submarine which is stuck under water.

Non-Fiction
Including the essay which the book is named after, it also features 9 of Marina´s essays. These are mostly shorter than her stories but not easier in topic choice. Marina speaks of her own experience with different things and of thoughts that were circling in her head. All these essays give an impression of an incredibly intelligent and thoughtful young woman. She almost seems too grown-up for her age.

With every essay she took up a different way of writing and they show how skilled she was at it. I even devoured essays on topics that didn´t necessarily concern me because the writing was so engaging, strong and gripping. Marina´s voice is clear in these essays, they really spoke to me. Again, there are underlying topics woven into these essays. It´s hard to put the book down and just not think about it anymore. Again, two of the essays have really stuck with me: Against The Grain, about her experience with Celiac disease (gluten intolerance), and Why We Care About Whales, her thoughts on and experience with saving stranded whales.


Marina was almost a chameleon in her writing; she could make it fit to the story she wanted to tell which  gives them all the perfect atmosphere. Also her choice of topics and how she could speak about topics without actually writing a word about them is so intriguing and so thought-provoking. This whole book shows her pure and raw talent and I´m sad that I won´t get a chance to read more stories by her. While I didn´t want to put down the book because of her amazing writing, I had to after almost every story and essay to process what I had just read. I truly believe this book has changed how I think bout certain topics. Her stories will definitely stay with me for a long time.

I´d highly suggest this book to everyone, especially young adults. She wrote about topics that young adults definitely can relate to. Marina has truly touched me with her writing and I think with almost 21 years this was the perfect time to be inspired by her. If you want to get a first feel whether you like her writing, take a look at her essay The Opposite of Loneliness, it´s so worth a read!

12 comments

  1. I've heard other reviews of this book say that it is a must read, I am really interested in picking it out, it sounds really thought provoking.

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

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    1. It definitely is a must read! I loved reading it a lot and yes, it´s so though-provoking!
      xx Lisa

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  2. Love it! I've need wanting new book suggestions.

    Xx
    Molly
    www.trendychickadee.com

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    1. Thank you. I bet you´ll love this book (because everyone will ;) )
      xx Lisa

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  3. Just reminded me how irresponsible I was in this field.
    http://nuclearglitter.com/

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    1. Do you mean irresponsible with reading? I´m so irresponsible in that field as well. I do love it but with Youtube and all it´s hard to actually sit down to read.
      xx Lisa

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  4. Always on the look out for new book recommendations! Dark books can put me in a bit of a funk sometimes but this sounds like a must-read!

    x Jessi
    ww.fullofliving.com

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    1. I feel the same way about dark books. I haven´t perceived The Opposite of Loneliness as a particularly dark book. It definitely has some dark topics but overall it´s just really interesting and though-provoking.
      xx Lisa

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  5. I had never heard of this book before but after reading your review I am definitely going to put this on my TBR pile! (I also need to work on my reading challenge on goodreads!)

    Thank you for the recommendation!

    Love
    Charlene McElhinney
    @blogabtnothing1
    www.charlenemcelhinney.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Honestly, you won´t regret reading this book, everyone should´ve read it once in their life! I´m so embarrassed that I´m so way behind. I seriously need to start reading more in the last few months.
      xx Lisa

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  6. I definitely want to give this book a go! thank you for the review, it was so detailed!

    Love Chloe-Rose

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    1. Thank you so much! It´s such a great book and one that I still think about a lot!
      xx Lisa

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