Sunday, June 5, 2016

Book Reviews: 'The Opposite of Loneliness' by Marina Keegan and 'Brooklyn' by Colm Tóibín

The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan 
This book is really great and really sad at the same time. The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of essays and short stories written by Marina Keegan, who graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 2012 and was tragically killed in a car accident five days later. This collection was published two years later in 2014, featuring essays and stories written by her before her death after her essay titled "The Opposite of Loneliness" had become an Internet sensation and, as the dust jacket says, made Keegan an icon of her generation. It was definitely sad in the essays when Keegan spoke about how she wanted to live the rest of her life, knowing that she died so young (22) with such a bright future. Her writing is exceptional, reminiscent of Lena Dunham and Roxane Gay. It's so sad that she was taken from the world so soon; I'm sure she would have had her shot at a writing career if she was still with us. I definitely preferred the essays over the short stories; I've never been a huge fan of short stories in general because they just feel so compressed; I much prefer stories where things can develop and play out in a more clear way, and Keegan's stories happened to fall into the category of short stories I don't really like, but they were still nicely written and somewhat interesting. My favorite essay was definitely the one in which Keegan talks about her life with Celiac Disease (the title is escaping me and Google hasn't been helpful, but I remember it was clever). It was heartbreakingly sweet. I definitely recommend this if you're looking for a quick read and a little pick-me-up when you're losing faith in yourself or, say, humanity. 4/5 stars.

2. Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibín
I can't really review this book in full because I didn't exactly finish it; I read a little more than half and decided to abandon it. I just found it so boring and slow-moving... Historical fiction isn't exactly my forte, but I have read it before and thought I would enjoy this because I really wanted to see the film adaption when it came out earlier this year but never made it to the theater. I received a DVD copy as a gift just as I discovered it was a book before it was a movie so I wanted to read the book first, and it was a bit of a disappointment. But, I do not place blame on Brooklyn, it's me; I just don't think this book was for me. I really just could not get into it; I had no motivation to pick it up again after putting it down, which is a clear sign for me that I'm not into it and there's a strong possibility it will become a hassle and obligation to read. I'm still going to see the movie, but the book was just too boring for me. 2/5 stars.  

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