Does an author influence its work? I tried to read this in the way I think a writer would’ve wanted it to be read. I tried to judge it based on its work and not constantly think about Marina, how close her age was to mine or how she had accomplished so much but still had so much more to go. But the works chosen were chosen because they were indicative of her. They are pieces of the hard work she put in. The first piece, which lends the collection its title, is easily my favorite. It’s delivered commencement speech style, a little cheesy, and tinged in romantic nostalgia of the present. She sounds young in her work, but that’s what makes it great & (most of) the pieces are genuinely interesting.
I definitely preferred her non-fiction over her fiction. The fiction wasn’t the style I tend to gravitate toward. However her essays were excellent. She has a knack for making you feel something when you don’t think there’s anything to feel.
It was impossible for me to read this without feeling saddened. She was clearly going to have an excellent career as a writer & it’s upsetting to see it cut so short, especially because she was so aware of her own ephemerality, youth, time, & growing up pop up more than once in her works. This isn’t surprising considering college is a time where those things are constantly in thought, but she tackles them with a mature concentration.
Overall, it’s a great read & I’m happy I bought it. I’ve read this one over the span of about a year, fitting in a story here or there when I had time.
Here’s a video of her, but the sound quality is sort of muffled: