Marina Keegan, a 22-year-old girl who died in a car accident just days after graduating from Yale University in 2012, is an embodiment of 'someone I feel sorry for' ... It is free of verbosity, of ambiguous language gussied up as brilliance. It doesn’t contain any banal insights delivered as revelation. There is no subliminal messaging to the reader about the flattering ways in which the author should be viewed ... Keegan’s fiction, which constitutes the first half of the book, is built around the kind of empathetic extrapolation that makes for all the best realism ... The experience of reading this book is extremely and uncomfortably sad. I can barely recommend it.
The Opposite of Loneliness is a record of that time better spent. The book of nine short stories and nine essays takes its title from Keegan’s last essay to appear in the Yale Daily News... This book is not a posthumous vanity project; Keegan’s writing is intimidatingly good ... Keegan’s storytelling is so strong that the reader quickly becomes invested in the characters’ struggles, forgetting about their author’s life and death ... A keen observer of the human condition, of herself, and of her generation, she uses the vernacular... Through these stories and essays readers can feel the powerful reverberations of Keegan’s singular voice.
You can’t read The Opposite of Loneliness, which consists of nine essays and nine works of fiction, without feeling a bit haunted. The irony is overwhelming. There’s a certain type of roughness, a raw openness, in Keegan’s prose ... Instead, she writes from that exact place she is at, young adulthood, a time of decisions and crossroads, uncertainty and hope ... Her nature shines through in her work, and her poignant storytelling ability provokes her readers to question ... In several cases, Marina did not have time to self-edit, and this makes her stories and essays even more impressive.