The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories

I really wanted to say I loved this book. I was really, really close.  Keegan was a talented author, taken way to young. I see so much potential in her writing. Keegan was killed in a car accident just after graduating magna cum laude from Yale (5 days after graduating in fact.) This is a collection of stories that she wrote prior to her death, well, obviously.  Some of the subject matter screams young author (possibly some written while still in high school)... but despite some subject matter, the quality of her writing nevers flounders for me.  

I do recommend this one.  Throw caution if you are sensitive to language or subject matter (mostly sex). 

And I have to admit, I felt such a bond with her when I read her section on celiac (she had it her whole life, and what she said just echoed within in - someone who actually understands what my life is like.)  I was able to find some excerpts from the celiac chapter that I am going to share here. Maybe so you'll see just the talent that is in her writing. 
"I had celiac disease before it was cool. Before 'gluten free' was stamped on muffin boxes sold at Whole Foods and local cafes. I’m a lifer. I’m a pro. I’ve been doing my damnedest to avoid the tiny protein since I was 18 months old.

"Not so for most of my celiac peers. The friends I meet in college are new to the club. They’re coming off fresh diagnoses and newly prescribed gluten-free diets. So I teach them about cross contamination and the nuances of artificial colors, the importance of certified oats and the dangers of sushi rice. And for 29 days a month, they try really hard. But on day 30, they have a slice of pizza because it’s their birthday or a beer because they turn 21 or a piece of fried dough because, after all, they’re only at the fair once a year and besides, they’ve been so good this month. They don’t get it."

"Celiacs need to understand that the disease has far greater consequences than an unsettled stomach. The fact is that failing to stringently adhere to a gluten-free diet destroys intestinal villi and leads to things like osteoporosis, other autoimmune diseases and cancer. These greater consequences need to be articulated to every newly diagnosed person. The same thing goes for the risks to one’s fertility. Celiacs should be told that a piece of cake every month might cost them the ability to have children. I try to explain this to my peers when I see them cheat, but it needs to come from a doctor.
"I hope the medical community can focus as much time and money on stressing strict dietary compliance as they do educating food providers, manufacturers and servers. Only then will all the heightened community awareness and accommodation truly have an impact."
While I was trying to find the whole essay (you can read the whole thing here), I found a review of her book.  And I'd recommend reading a professional critics write up on the book. They do a much better job than I, and if I don't, perhaps they will convince you to read this book.

Here is just a snippet of that review:
 "I would not be writing this were The Opposite of Loneliness not very, very good. 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. These omissions are rare ones, especially in personal essays and debut fiction. This book is among the least embarrassing I’ve ever read; that parts of it were written when Keegan was most likely still a teenager should humble any writer with even the faintest memory of their own early work...
"It is impossible to read The Opposite of Loneliness and not get chills at what repeatedly feels like real-life foreshadowing....
"I read a lot of fiction, but until reading Keegan’s I hadn’t ever really thought to be impressed by a writer’s ability to create imaginative emotional dynamics; I had always just taken it for granted that make-believe scenarios were what fiction writers conjured, that that’s what fiction is. "

Please, enjoy.

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