The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

I didn’t expect to like this book. I was bored at the first few pages of the narrator explaining how much weight they carried around in weapons and gear, but then he added in pain, loss, guilt and fear, and I realized this was a story about people, not about war. There is no denying it- Tim O’Brien is a story-teller. We get very little information as to whether or not these stories are real- but it doesn’t matter. Tim shows us that the details of the story don’t matter- it’s the people in them that do. I didn’t keep reading because I was super intrigued by Vietnam, I read because I cared about the boy who wanted to go to college and got stuck fighting a war he didn’t believe in. It slowly became irrelevant to me what really happened out there. Yes, I too find is suspicious that Fossie was able to bring his girlfriend out, and that she became so curious about Vietnam that she left him for the Greenies, and eventually left them for the wilderness. Whatever the case, Fossie lost his love and the plan for his future because of the war- whether Mary Anne actually disappeared into the woods or not. I recommend giving this book a shot if you haven’t already. It’s a cross between a series of essays and series of stories, and the part where they intersect is just beautifully done. O’Brien doesn’t need a flowery vocabulary to paint the picture and the emotions he wants his reader to feel- it just happens.

If you loved this book, hated this book, or are interested in loving/hating it, let me know in the comments!

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