Ok, so I am a jerk. I saw this book on the NYT Bestseller list, requested it from the library, and picked it up one Saturday. I glanced at it, threw it in the passenger seat of my car, and wondered what this young woman could have to say. I expected something fluffy or self-indulged. Then I opened the book and read about the author. I saw two dates, 1989-2012. I stopped and stood in my hallway, absorbing and reading. I read about Marian Keegan, a talented, accomplished, intelligent young writer who died 5 days after her college graduation in a car accident. I felt like a terrible person, forgetting the first rule of reading; don’t judge a book by its cover. Then I sat and read and read. Marina had incredible things to say, profound, witty, endearing, humane, hopeful, lovely things to say.
This compilation was published after her death. It is a compilation of short stories and non-fiction pieces. They are full of longing to change the world, and joy in the journey of life. She was a writer that could capture human experience succinctly and make you think, “I have felt that, I have done that, I know exactly what you mean.” A college girl writing about college boyfriends, those are stories one can pound out from their own recesses of experience. However, Keegan wrote a story about a middle aged woman adopting a baby. It was sweet, funny, poignant, and very well done. I was impressed with her ability to capture life stages far beyond her own.
The essay I connected to the most she wrote about her high school car. Her coming-of-age experiences in it, and the storage unit her care transformed into. A co-worker once laughed at my random collection of things in my car, a can of diet coke, one shoe, and detachable straps from a bridesmaids dress. My car was my extra home on wheels for many years; it saw me through a lot of happy and sad. Keegan encapsulated this feeling, I related so well to her depictions. I believe this is what great writing does, reassures you there is someone else who has felt and experienced the exact same things. Marina Keegan is a voice gone way too soon.
To Purchase on Amazon, click here: