Waterstones Blogger Book Club: The Opposite of Loneliness

I’ve been enjoying reviewing books on my blog recently, so I couldn’t believe it when Waterstones got in touch with me about blogging for their Blogger Book Club. Myself and two other bloggers were sent The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. It’s a collection of essays and stories written by a student at Yale, who tragically died just five days after her graduation. Her essay ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’ written for Yale Daily News campus newspaper went viral with over 1.4million hits and this book includes this essay, alongside some of her other works.

the-opposite-of-loneliness

I don’t often read short stories or non-fiction essays so this book was a refreshing change. However, I had actually read the book before as part of my Masters in Publishing. I had recently written a marketing essay on the techniques used by the publishers for The Opposite of Loneliness, in comparison to Go Set A Watchman, and read the book then. It was great to re-read it in a completely different and non-academic context, and enjoy the book as a book. I enjoyed reading the short stories; I felt it was a great way to dip in and out and it provided a ‘snapshot’ of Keegan’s writing and the potential she had.

Perhaps because my age and situation as a student is so similar to Marina Keegan and her writings, I felt particularly emotional reading some of the short stories. The constant refrain that “we’re so young” was hard-hitting and I did find myself crying at the introduction, written by Anne Fadiman – I had previously read her book Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader and had no idea she was also a professor at Yale who had been so close to Keegan. However, there is a difficulty with the  book as a whole; it’s impossible to separate the death of Keegan with her writings but as Fadiman writes “Marina wouldn’t want to be remembered because she’s dead. She would want to be remembered because she’s good.” Whether the book quite carries manages to separate the biography from the writings, I’m not sure.

I would recommend giving The Opposite of Loneliness a read; personally I enjoyed it and I feel like it is an interesting read which is worth getting slightly out of your comfort zone with. Just prepare to feel a little emotional! I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the book:

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over… We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

You can read the other reviews written by Kirsty from The Overflowing Library and Amber from The Mile Long Bookshelf on their blogs. You can buy The Opposite of Loneliness from Waterstones here. Have you read The Opposite of Loneliness? What did you think?

Jess
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