Marina Keegan's star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.
As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, "The Opposite of Loneliness", went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.
Even though she was just 22 when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina's essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.
©2014 Tracy and Kevin Keegan (P)2014 Tantor
"Keegan brings self-awareness to the collective insecurity of her peers even as she captures it with a precision that only comes from someone who feels it too. How unfortunate that she will never know the value readers will find in her work." (Publishers Weekly)
Some news stories one reads and then simply forgets. But when recent Yale grad Marina Keegan was killed in a car accident on Cape Cod in mid-2012, I found her story unforgettable. From all accounts, she was embarking on her adult life full of promise and with pure joie de vivre. So, when I learned her essays had been published, I was eager to read them. I found her essays as vivid and full of life as Ms. Keegan had been portrayed. And while I found the book interesting and enjoyable, I couldn't help but feel an abiding sadness that this talented woman's life had been cut short at such a young age. I found Emily Woo Zeller's narration to be lovely and spot on... a beautiful tribute to a life lost too soon.
I enjoyed this mix of short stories and essays, especially the essays. The reader learns that the author, Marina Keegan, died tragically shortly after graduating from Yale. With death the theme of both some essays and stories, that fact sadly does give this book more power. Keegan's stories are best when the main characters are 20-somethings like herself. They have an authentic feel, and she is a talented young writer. Her essays are all personal, making them so strong. She drew me into about half her short stories and all of her essays. My children are all 20-somethings, and this book both was enjoyable but also gave me more insight into the world of my kids. I have some criticisms with the audiobook. You start with one essay, followed by all the stories and then all the essays. There is almost no pause between one story and the next. A different voice reading story titles would have helped. Personally, I would have liked to have essays and short stories alternating. While the reader is good, and this was en enjoyable book to hear, it might be even better to read.
Commuting 2 hours a day to and from work allows me the pleasure of listening to many books where I would otherwise not have time to read
Every once in a while a talent comes along which is prematurely taken from us. Marina Keegan is one such talent. Only 22 years old, she had an uncanny ability to capture the spirit of the young and the wisdom of the old. While listening to her stories, I was transported back in time to a point in my life where I was full of hope and optimism while reflecting on the experience and wisdom that has come with living life's adventures. Her story about her Toyota in "Stability in Motion" made me laugh as it brought back memories about my first vehicle - a 1970 Volkswagen Camper.
Emily Zeller does an outstanding job of narration. It is as if Marina herself is reading the stories to me in my car. Couple great narration with great writing and you get one hell of an audio book!
Marina has truly left her mark on this world through her writing. One sad aspect of Marina's untimely death is that we must live in this world without being able to read another word crafted by her.
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