For some reason or another, Marina Keegan's book The Opposite of Loneliness, completely escaped me when it came out last year. Keegan's own story is tragic, as she was killed in a car accident when her boyfriend fell asleep at the wheel. Many remembered and respected her on the Yale campus, so much so that this collection was put together after she passed away. Her essay "The Opposite of Loneliness" went viral (I hate that word) and her posthumous fame commenced.
After a touching preface by her old professor that paints a realistic and endearing picture of Keegan, the book is divided into two sections comprised of her fiction and nonfiction. I'm not really sure which I preferred, as both had some gems (and less than stellar pieces) and showed so much potential. Her essay "Why We Care About Whales" struck a cord, as did her stories "Cold Pastoral," about returning home the first winter break after college and "Challenger Deep" a disturbing tale of a group stranded in a submarine.
What I think I appreciated most about the works is that they weren't polished or necessary all "ready" yet. Anne Fadiman speaks to the idea of Keegan being perfectly fine with writing from the vantage point of her age, and not trying to sound a decade older. Her prose aren't forced, but you can tell that she's attempting to experiment with voice and content. She reminds me of a few of the students that I have had over the years: eager, talented, and promising. It's a shame that Keegan was taken from the literary world (and just the world, in general) so early. I can only imagine what she could have contributed.