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The Story Behind “The Opposite of Loneliness”


The collection of essays “The Opposite of Loneliness” has made waves in the literary world since its release in 2014. Marina Keegan has become a staple in the coming of age genre. Not only was Keegan a talented writer, but also a political activist and literary scholar. The accomplishments Keegan achieved by the age of 22 are what most young adults strive for.

Marina Keegan was a Massachusetts native who attended Yale University from 2008-2012. She was one of the youngest paid staffers for the Obama Campaign and President of Yale’s College Democrats. Her work was featured on The New Yorker’s website, NPR, and the Yale Daily News. Keegan was also the first person to be honored in both nonfiction and fiction by the Norman Mailer College of Writing Competition.

Keegan passed away from a fatal car accident only five days after she graduated magna cum laude from Yale. She was 22 years old and slated to begin a career at The New Yorker.



The individual essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” was printed in a special edition of the Yale Daily News for the 2012 Commencement. After Keegan passed away, her writing went viral receiving over a million hits. Friends and family of Keegan compiled her essays into a collection that was published by Scribner (a “Big 5” publishing house). “The Opposite of Loneliness” was a New York Times Best Seller and received positive reviews from the Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune.

Keegan’s collection of essays will make you laugh and cry. It is evident that she was unique in the way she perceived the world as well as how she related that perception to others. My love for Keegan stems from her ability to reach people on an individual level by discussing the common human experience. Her writing is able to connect people from all over. One of my favorite essays is “Even Artichokes Have Doubts” which surrounds the high number of Yale (and many other Universities) graduates that enter the finance industry. As someone who attends a business-heavy university (shout out to Boler), I can understand exactly what Keegan portrays. There is a pressure to set aside your dreams and pursue “realistic” careers; we are told to put down our colored pencils and pick up our pens.

Marina Keegan will continue to inspire future generations with her unique, profound words.

“Sometime before I die I think I’ll find a microphone and climb to the top of a radio tower. I’ll take a deep breath and close my eyes because it will start to rain right when I reach the top. Hello, I’ll say to outer space, this is my card.”

John Carroll University '20. Connoisseur of all things college.
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