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I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM THIS BOOK Let s do a good old fashioned pros vs cons PROS A new found enjoyment in non fiction Essays are fun When Marina wrote about topics she was really confident in and had first hand experience with her essays and stories felt so true to life and honest As a writer this book was really inspiring It made me want to go out and write and share and keep on going THAT OPENING SPEECH, THOUGH WOW Golden Golden Took my breath away I read this with a friend hi I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM THIS BOOK Let s do a good old fashioned pros vs cons PROS A new found enjoyment in non fiction Essays are fun When Marina wrote about topics she was really confident in and had first hand experience with her essays and stories felt so true to life and honest As a writer this book was really inspiring It made me want to go out and write and share and keep on going THAT OPENING SPEECH, THOUGH WOW Golden Golden Took my breath away I read this with a friend hi, Rae and it was a great buddy read we had such a blast discussing each story and essay CONS I felt that Marina tried to hard to be profound sometimes Some of the lines were very dramatic especially the endings and it could feel a bit forced All of the endings were so sad There s nothing wrong with a sad ending, it s good to be realistic, but this was sad after sad after sad I would have liked some variety and glimmers of hope Overall I m really glad that I read this There were a bunch of stories that I didn t personally enjoy, but I felt that I learned a lot from this book It had me asking loads of questions why didn t I like that story what emotion is Marina trying to make me feel what makes a good last line how would Marina feel about these stories being published why did her parents choose these specific stories and made me think about what I want from my own writing Marina s story is a sad one, but I think that, actually, a lot of hope and inspiration can be taken by the way she lived her life and her devotion and dedication to writing I really enjoyed the first two stories, but the rest of them really fell flat for me I LOVED the introduction and the speech The Opposite of Loneliness , but most of the other essays were just fine.VERY MIXED EMOTIONS ON THIS ONE. One of the best books i ve ever read Some of the most beautiful writing i ve experienced Some of these quotes gave me chills so bad I had to stop reading A few of these stories lost my interest, but the ones that blew my mind made up for it A book that deserves every award and every 5 stars in the world.
I was drawn to this book because of the tragic backstory and also because this is a little embarrassing I m trying to understand the so called millennial generation a little better than I think I do there are noticeable differences, many of them rooted in stereotype.Anne Fadiman, who wrote one of my favorite books ever The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down , writes a beautiful introduction here about her student, Marina Keegan, and Marina s tragic death five days after graduation and so I was drawn to this book because of the tragic backstory and also because this is a little embarrassing I m trying to understand the so called millennial generation a little better than I think I do there are noticeable differences, many of them rooted in stereotype.Anne Fadiman, who wrote one of my favorite books ever The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down , writes a beautiful introduction here about her student, Marina Keegan, and Marina s tragic death five days after graduation and some of the reasons why Marina s admirers felt they should bring out a book of the writing she left behind from her undergrad years at Yale.The book is somewhat critic proof, given the circumstances as Fadiman wisely notes, she d want to be remembered for being good, not being dead , but I did have three responses 1 I agree with the reviewer below who said this reads like the work of the best student in an undergrad writing class Marina s short fiction stories are far better than her essays, which tended toward platitude, because, hey, 22 and in awe of the world Whatever profound insight others have found in her essays has escaped me Also, as Fadiman notes, you are completely aware that you are reading the work of a young woman in her earliest 20s, rather than a college student trying to sound impressive and adult The journalist in me was pleased by the number and variety of people she interviewed for her essay about the high number of Yale students opting sadly, Marina surmised for careers in finance consulting.2 There are all sorts of issues here to discuss for book groups, I think, and an undergrad writing class, far away from the Ivy League about privilege To what degree has influence and a top tier education made it so that you are now holding the contents of Marina s hard drive in a hardcover book from a big publisher To what degree was Marina aware of her connections, besides acknowledging her good fortune Only the Fadiman essay provides the real context who was she How was she different from other 22 year olds but it s an interesting way to examine the work as well, through the prism of the fraught subjects of elitism and entitlement 3 When I came here to write my review, leave my three stars reallylike 2.5 stars , and move the book into my read column, I clicked the rating details to see what the general ratings had been thus far, which indicate that NOBODY has given this book 2 stars or 1 star But that s not true If you scroll down into the text reviews, you ll seethan a few 2 star and 1 star reactions, many of which are valid and even spot on Hey, Goodreads Why don t the ratings details reflect the ratings given alongside the reviews Is the overall score even accurate Even though she has done so posthumously, Marina has published a book that retails for 23 It should come under the same scrutiny as anyone s book From what we gather in Fadiman s intro, she would want to see all the scores, not just the four star and five star rankings This collection reads like what it is the work of the most talented person in an undergrad writing class. Wow these essays were beautiful There are definitely a few I will go back to in the future and reread We can t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility, because in the end, it s all we haveOverall Rating 2.7 out of 5 starsBefore the haters drink their Haterade and troll me for being an unfeeling asshole, HEAR ME OUT First of all, think what happened to Marina Keegan is absolutely tragic The poor woman literally had her whole life in front of her when she died in a car crash That this happened five days after she graduated from college makes it even worse And I think that if she haWe can t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility, because in the end, it s all we haveOverall Rating 2.7 out of 5 starsBefore the haters drink their Haterade and troll me for being an unfeeling asshole, HEAR ME OUT First of all, think what happened to Marina Keegan is absolutely tragic The poor woman literally had her whole life in front of her when she died in a car crash That this happened five days after she graduated from college makes it even worse And I think that if she had been given the opportunity, she would have made something out of herself and most likely would have grown not only as a person, but as a writer as well Who knows, she could have been the next Great American Voice.The problem is, she wasn t quite there yet Unfortunately, the creators of this book didn t realize that when they were putting this together They ve dubbed her An Icon for a Generation And from what I ve read, this is a FAAAAR stretch The Positives Since I hate to be solely negative about something unless it s absolutely necessary, because there were some positive aspects to this Despite me not loving the writing, I do think that Ms Keegan showed a lot of potential Give her a few years time and a chance to master the craft of writing, and I think she could have made it as a writer From the few snippets made by her family and friends, I got the feeling that she was a spunky, spirited young girl with a passion for learning and a drive to succeed, qualities that are extremely admirable Her essays were distinctly better that her short fiction, and I enjoyed most of them The Not So Positive If the book s premise was to show a future, promising writer who undoubtedly would have grown in her craft, then this book is a success.If the book s premise was to show a writing star that had become the Voice of Our Generation and was the new Ernest Hemingway and what not seemingly overnight with little effort , then this book is a failure While her stories were good, most of them weren t memorable Her writing was just meh , especially when it came to her fiction To me, it seemed like she was trying too hard The writing in most of them felt extremely forced, as if she thought that using big, fluffy, literary sounding words would elevate her as a serious writer As I was reading this, I came to wonder why on Earth this had become such a popular success when the writing was so average Which leads me to diagnosing this book with Esther Earl Money Talks Syndrome There s this little book that not many people know about, written by a little known author not many people know about It s called The Fault in Our Stars by John Green It s only sold over a million copies and been made into a movie that grossed 266 million dollars Well, the novel was partially inspired by a girl named Esther Earl, a fan of Green s work and Nerdfighter who was diagnosed with cancer at 12 She became close to John Green before her death at 16 After her death, her parents put together a book of her journal entries, drawings, and what not and compiled them into a book, This Star Won t Go Out It went on to sell quite a lot of copies and won the GoodReads Choice Award for Memoir You ask the question how did this book written by a girl go on to sell so many copies when she did nothing extraordinary or groundbreaking no offense to Esther Cancer sucks and I wouldn t wish it on anyone The answer, my friends She had connections If this had been a regular Joe Blow from Nowhereville, USA who had gotten cancer, died, and his family wrote a book about him after their death, no one would have paid a second look Hell, there are kids and people with cancer who have done extraordinary things despite their illness and don t receive the recognition they deserve Why Because they don t know the right people They have no one influential backing them up in their corner Some of the people who read This Star Won t Go Out were complaining about this in their reviews, and how they felt that the only reason she was getting so much positive praise and success was because of her friendship with Green Marina, unfortunately, fits into this category as well From the essays I ve read, she did nothing extraordinary or special to get this attention She didn t stand out in any particular way But she came from a privileged upbringing, and had connections to the right people, which is probably why her work got published in the first place and like Esther enjoyed immediate and popular success What does this do to the average Joe, though There are writers who are far superior to her, who have been working for a long time, creating blood, sweat and tears in order to get a work published, and yet never find the success Marina does and she did very little This might leave some readers a bit sore, so if you re sensitive to those types of issues, I would stay away from this After this long winded intro, I might as well break down the stories and essays You ll start to see a pattern I didn t particularly enjoy her fiction, but I liked her essays The Opposite of Loneliness 3 5 Marina s last essay for the Yale Daily News, this is sort of like the college version of a high school commencement speech You know, those speeches usually given by the class president of the valedictorian of the graduating class, trying to inspire the other students on their quest to becoming adults and what not I thought this was a nice little piece, but it just wasn t anything special There was nothing outstanding or extraordinary about it It sounded like a rehashed version of all the other commencement speeches out there Of course, this is coming from the person who doesn t remember the speeches the president or valedictorian made at her high school graduation, but that was probably because I was steeling myself for the 1 hour wait it would take for my name to be called yes, it actually did take that long With 795 students crossing the stage, it took a while for them to get to the W s There s a reason I m skipping my college graduation, people But it was certainly a nice, quick read, and I can see why it would inspire a lot of people Cold Pastoral 2 5 This follows a girl named Claire, who is left in the awkward position of being asked to speak at the funeral of her boyfriend Brian who, in a tragic irony, died in a car crash Why is this awkward Because she has to deal with the presence of his ex girlfriend Lauren This was probably not the best story to start out with, because it s one of the weaker ones of the collection The writing felt forced, and I could generally find no purpose or moral to the story There was also no concrete middle or ending, which made the overall story fall flat It also didn t help that the main characters were unlikable Winter Break 3 5 Again, with this story, I found no point to it, and no concrete resolution either It seems to me that Marina likes to write about young, pretentious kids who abuse substances and try to sound wise and sage Unfortunately, it backfires and makes them sound like idiots This story follows a girl named Addie who comes home over winter break and witness the breakdown of her family Question marks are indicated because I never got the distinct feeling of what was going on Reading Aloud 4 5 By far, the best short story of the collection THIS is the work that shows the most promise to it, with characters you can finally connect to and a concrete middle and ending APPLAUSE I found the characters to be particularly interesting You have Anna, a faded ballerina who is a hypochondriac and from the sounds of it, early on set dementia , who reads to Sam, a blind man Thing is, Anna is currently going through a midlife crisis where she doesn t have any romantic feelings for her husband, so she compensates for that by emotionally cheating on him with Sam Again, this was my favorite of the stories The Ingenue 1 5 And we ve gone downhill again with the stories Never have I read a story where the main character does do much slut shaming Look I get it you have jealousy issues But does this give you the right to bitch about EVERY SINGLE WOMAN your boyfriend comes into contact with And yet despite all this, YOU STILL MARRY HIM Girl, what the fuck is wrong with you Needless to say, this was my least favorite story of the collection The Emerald City 3 5 Points for the originality of the story, as it s told entirely by emails I felt like Marina tookrisks with this story, but man, there were plot holes galore in this We were treated to such a nice email exchange between a soldier and his girlfriend, when wham bam, thank you ma am , we re treated to an ending that s so ridiculous in nature you wonder if you missed something from the previous email Lack of connection between the main characters also docked this down to a three, but I thought the overall storytelling was solid just not extraordinary Baggage Claim 2 5 Unmemorable In fact, so unmemorable I completely forgot what this was about as I sit here typing this I think it was about a man who lost his bags at the airport, but I m not sure I m not going back to find out though Hail, Full of Grace 3 5 We re now to the point of the book that I was inwardly groaning to myself, asking when the heck is this going to end Thankfully, this story wormed its way onto my radar and actually proved to be a heartwarming story However, I questioned the actions of the main characters, whom I thought acted quite selfishly Their actions made no logical sense either It was like they were repeating the same mistakes over and over again without learning the consequences I do think this story would appeal to anyone who liked Rainbow Rowell, though, as the plot was similar in vein to her novels Sclereotherapy 1 5 I know they say you can write about anything, but when the whole plot of this story involves a woman explaining her Chinese tattoo and getting her varicose veins removed, there s a problem Where s the plot Where s the character development Where s the overarching theme Where s the climax Where are the events leading up to the climax WHERE S THE POINT This story was essentially missing everything that makes a story just that A story This read like a high school student s paper Challenger Deep 2 5 Glory Hallelujah we re at the end, people And the end this section of the short story part of the book, we end with yet another story that s not particularly memorable aka Katherine can t remember If my memory serves me, I think this is about a college expedition to the ocean to research jellyfish Weak characterization and plot, and just all around meh Stability in Motion 4 5 Just when I was beginning to lose all hope for this book, the essay section began And I have to say, Ms Keegan was a MUCH emphasis on the much better essay writer than a short story writer The writing style flows easier and is a lot less forced than her fictional endeavors If anything this is a lesson to writers to just let the words flow and to not try too hard to sound literary and all that.Anyhoo, this little essay involves Marina s first car and how it s become a special thing to her Memorable moments in her life involve her car, and when it s time to give it to her brother, it s a bittersweet feeling We all can remember our very first car, whether it s an old clunker or a brand new convertible My first car was a 1997 Mercury Sable I named Winifred She was originally my mom s car, then my dad s car, and then passed down to me that way, if I crashed it, there d be no hard feelings, haha Unfortunately, Winifred didn t like me, because she immediately proceeded to break down on me several times I think we just about replaced every part in the damn thing, until it got to the point where she wouldn t start on me aka a BIG PROBLEM Yup, we all have those memories of our first car, and she perfectly captures that Why We Care About Whales 3 5 Why is it that, when watching a movie where an animal is involved, we get overly emotional if something bad happens to them This is what this essay argues for Marina tells the tale of the plight of beached whales When the Earth rotates, the ocean rotates as well This causes whales to beach, therefore sending them to an agonizing death She argues that we, as a human society, pay far too much attention to the plight of animals and not enough recognition to the plight of humans Why should we be helping beached whales on the short when we could be volunteering in Africa saving starving children, she claims While I appreciated her articulation of thoughts and her logical arguments, I did disagree with her points in this essay Animals are an important part of our ecosystem as well, and it s equally vital that we help those animals in need as it to help our own kind Just think what would happen if no one cared about the animals in the environment we d go kaput WARNING If you don t like to read about animal suffering, I d skip this one, as there are graphic descriptions of animal deaths mentioned Against the Grain 4 5 The most personal of her essays, this deals with Ms Keegan s struggles with celiac disease and her overprotective mother As a kid, Marina used to shrug her condition off as no big deal, when to her, it actually was The embarrassment of her mother coddling her and overbearing her with concern and affection, and the general wishing that she could be normal I have a friend who suffers from the same disease, and the sentiments shared by her and Marina are very similar Wishing you could eat all the foods that you re strictly forbidden to is a frustrating thing It was an easy read and by far her best essay of the collection Putting the Fun Back in Eschatology 3 5 What s going to happen when the world ends Marina tries to answer this question in a scientific manner For those of you who want an concrete answer, the end of the world will happen when the sun explodes but before you panic, this isn t projected to happen for 3 billion years from now, so don t start the Doomsday preparation yet Basically, this is a giant PSA announcement for us to protect the environment It might be a bit too political for some readers, but it s interesting to hear a logical voice come into the debate I Kill for Money 1 5 This was an essay , I asked myself after finishing reading this It read like a short storythan an essay, which is probably why I disliked it so much Honestly, I thought this was just plain bad, and had all the same general problems that her other short stories had This was the bad apple in a sea of good essays Even Artichokes Have Doubts 3 5 Ah, the age old question every college student asks themselves at the start of their career do I major in a subject that I hate, but will lead me to a career that earns me a lot of money Or do I follow my heart and major in a subject that I love, but will have to resign myself to the fact that I won t be rolling in the dough anytime soon Ideally, the perfect major allows you to have the best of both worlds, but for most, this is simply not the case Marina discovers, at Yale University, that there are a number of engineering majors who aren t happy that they majored in it to begin with But to them, it all comes down to the fact that engineers get paid a ton, but also have a wide variety of job opportunities at their disposal after graduation at least for now For some students, practicality wins over passion, which means they end up in a career field they absolutely hate For me, there was never a question as to what I would do be an elementary school teacher , or how much money I would make It s about me being happy in a career I find richly rewarding But it s really sad that most people don t have that option The Art of Observation 4 5 When Marina and a friend went to India, they were constantly stopped by locals who wanted to take their picture Why Since she looked drastically different than them, she and her friend were curiosities This kind of gives Marina an ego booster that they would find her so interesting when she sees herself as anything but I loved this cultural anthropological study about how what we perceive as normal can be so different to others For example, if you re tall and you go to China, they re going to stare If you re fair haired, they re going to stare Because it s an anomaly over there You kind of get that same feeling that famous actors go through when everyone wants to take their picture It s fun for a while, but after a while, you want everyone to go away Song for the Special 3 5 Every generation thinks they re special in some way because of all the advances that have been made during their life time It s so much fun to talk to an elder and listen to what they ve been through They re walking, talking history books And yet, Marina says, we re constantly jealous because they got to go through and see all these amazing things we ll never get the chance to experience at least not in this life The thing is, we shouldn t be dwelling on what could have been we shouldn t even be dwelling on the what will become We need to live in the now, preserve the memories NOW, so when the time comes, we can be those walking, talking history books future generations can hear about &READ EBOOK ☜ The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories ⇲ An affecting and hope filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world s attention inand turned her into an icon for her generationMarina Keegan s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in MayShe had a play that was to be produced at the New York Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at The New Yorker Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crashAs her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her deeply affecting last essay for The Yale Daily News, The Opposite of Loneliness, went viral, receiving thanmillion hitsEven though she was just twenty two years old when she died, Marina left behind a rich, deeply expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, capture the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation Her short story, Cold Pastoral, was published in NewYorker just months after her death The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina s essays and stories, which, like The Last Lecture, articulate the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be, and how we harness our talents to impact the world Uptown Thief five days after graduation Little Butterfly Omnibus Marina died in a car crashAs her family Seedlings of Barro Colorado Island and the Neotropics friends سيمبلين (Cymbeline) and classmates The Christmas Baby Bonus deep in grief The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology joined to create a memorial service for Marina Search the Seven Hills her deeply affecting last essay for The Yale Daily News Blutsbrüder The Opposite of Loneliness Deutsche Märchen und Sagen went viral Die Liebe, ein Speer und Creme brûlée receiving thanmillion hitsEven though she was just twenty two years old when she died The Homeland Directive Marina left behind a rich Undone by the Sultan's Touch (Harlequin Presents) deeply expansive trove of prose that Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie like her title essay The Samurai's Daughter capture the hope Fragile Agileagile Softwareentwicklung Richtig Verstehen Und Leben uncertainty Belisarius: The Last Roman General and possibility of her generation Her short story Der totale Rausch: Drogen im Dritten Reich Cold Pastoral Firefighters Don't! was published in NewYorker just months after her death The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina s essays and stories Soft and Others: 16 Stories of Wonder and Dread which My Favorite Earthling like The Last Lecture Returning to Reims articulate the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be Revenge and how we harness our talents to impact the world What beautiful talent and skill in such a young life Her story, her words, peeking into her mind is heartbreaking but also hopeful and inspiring all at once Though gone, her potential lives on in this way. In a perfect world, this book would have never been published because Marina Keegan wouldn t have died at age 22.There were a few decent stories and essays in here writing that showed tremendous ability and potential if they were to appear in a college workshop If I had taught her in an introductory writing class, I would have loved her work and, green with envy, hated her precocious talent But there are a lot of very weak pieces in here, too Keegan is just so damn young She has a lot of s In a perfect world, this book would have never been published because Marina Keegan wouldn t have died at age 22.There were a few decent stories and essays in here writing that showed tremendous ability and potential if they were to appear in a college workshop If I had taught her in an introductory writing class, I would have loved her work and, green with envy, hated her precocious talent But there are a lot of very weak pieces in here, too Keegan is just so damn young She has a lot of silly ideas that, given 5 years of life beyond her incredibly privileged upbringing and education, she would have grown out of And I genuinely believe that she would have become a prolific and successful writer.All that being said, I never would have picked this up if not for my book club I rushed through it with the occasional groan and many wistful sighs about the stories Keegan should have gotten the chance to write 10 years from now