The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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When I first read the essay “The Opposite of Loneliness” by Marina Keegan, I wanted to recite these words to everyone I knew and say, “This is exactly how I feel about graduating.” I finally found the words that described what I felt.
Keegan wrote good essays, some of them were really great. I have to admit that I did enjoy her fiction pieces more than her nonfiction and her poetry interested me. I wish they had included more of her poems. But her fiction pulled me into her world and left me wanting to know more about the characters and what happened next for them.
That being said, I think this book is highly overpraised. The reason that this novel became “the instant New York Times bestseller” is because she died suddenly and tragically. This is not to say that Keegan isn’t talented. But honestly, I don’t think this book would have been published if it wasn’t for that. That being said, below I will post the titles of the essays that I really did enjoy in her book:
“The Opposite of Loneliness”
“Cold Pastoral”
“Reading Aloud”
“Why We Care about Whales”
“Even Artichokes Have Doubts”
Favorite Quotes:
  • “I dream of the past, of the things that could have happened, or should have happened or never happened.”
  • “Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it: already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.”
  • “So what I’m trying to say is you should text me back. Because there’s a precedent. Because there’s an urgency. Because there’s a bedtime. Because when the world ends I might not have my phone charged and If you don’t respond soon, I won’t know if you’d wanna leave your shadow next to mine.”
  • “Do you wanna leave soon? No, I want enough time to be in love with everything… And I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short.”
  • “Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…). We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.”
  • “What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we must not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”
  • “We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.”
  • “It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four A.M. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt.”
  • “I thought about the things he’s said about her in his journal. The morning after they first kissed when he’d spent forty minutes writing her a three-line e-mail. The game of bowling where they got high in the bathroom, the way he’d described her collarbone and her smile and the first time he saw her band play in the basement during the storm.”
  • “I want to watch Shloe’s movies and I want to see Mark’s musicals and I want to volunteer with Joe’s nonprofit and eat at Annie’s restaurant and send my kids to schools Jeff has reformed and I’m just scared about this industry that’s taking all my friends and telling them this is the best way for them to be spending their time. Any of their time. Maybe I’m ignorant and idealistic but I just feel like that can’t possibly be true. I feel like we know that. I feel like we can do something really cool to this world. And I fear – at twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five – we might forget.
  • “Marina was twenty-one and sounded twenty-one: a brainy twenty-one, a twenty-one who knew her way around the English language, a twenty-one who understood that there were few better subjects than being young and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful.”
  • “Marina wouldn’t want to be remembered because she’s dead. She would want to be remembered because she’s good.”

 

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