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July, July

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  2,406 Ratings  ·  198 Reviews
At a thirty-year reunion, a group of old friends tell the story of their lives -- and the story of a generation -- in this brilliant new novel from one of America's most celebrated writers. At a dance in their old college gymnasium, the Class of '69 have been reunited. As part of the 'Golden Generation', they had graduated in those anything's-possible days, still believing ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Larry Bassett
Sep 15, 2014 Larry Bassett rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, fiction
I have hit the highs (five stars for The Things They Carried) and the lows (one star for Tomcat in Love) for Tim O’Brien. And ensemble cast (like the one that appears in this book) means the old TV show “thirtysomething” or the movie “The Big Chill” to me – very good things! So I have high hopes for this book but am prepared for the worst! What will it be, Tim?

This is another of the nostalgia about Vietnam books for me. How can that still be? There is even a section about a guy who goes to Canad
This book concerns the trials and tribulations of a handful of fifty-somethings stupid enough to attend their thritieth college class reunion.

There are the usual hook-ups, spats and broken hearts, and for those who believe O'Brien is capable of writing about nothing else, one bloody Vietnam flashback.

The story was interesting for a while, but my attention easily drifted elsewhere. The characters all seemed to use the same voice, and none of their stories were very compelling.

Sad to say, but I
Bessie James
Oct 15, 2012 Bessie James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is, for certain, a difficult book. I usually knock off a book of this size in two days. This one took me four days. There are about a dozen fairly major characters in it, and as many people have commented, it is very difficult to keep all of the voices distinct.

Nonetheless, I eventually told myself to relax and not be so concerned with who was who (or who was fucking or not fucking who), and suddenly, the purpose of the book became clear to me. O'Brien is evoking a time in America that I ne
Barksdale Penick
There are bits and pieces of enjoyable writing interspersed in not very interesting scenes from a college reunion (30th?) of the class of 1969, who went to a small liberal arts college in Minnesota where they protested the war and had boyfriends and girlfriends. I found the reunions scenes not credible, as I have been to reunions and as far as I could tell, everybody wasn't scheming over large amounts of vodka to sleep with someone they had pined for all these years. But there are some credible ...more
Mar 03, 2009 Natalye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love Tim O'Brien's writing. I have never been much of a fan of war movies or memoirs, but ever since my sophomore year English teacher taught a unit on war and we read "The Things They Carried" I have enjoyed his work, in spite of such an evident focus on Vietnam. Something about his language is so comfortable to read, and always has some sense of nostalgia, no matter how grand or minute. Additionally, he pays a great attention to character development and can juggle many plot lines ...more
Apr 24, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tim O'Brien is a storyteller and this book showcases his ability in a different way than Going After Cacciato or The Things They Carried. He follows a cohort, the class of '69 from Darton Hall (clearly a remake of his Alma Mater, Macalester). We are granted the unique perspective of knowing their past, present and everything in between; we watch them play Monday Morning Quarterback, lamenting their lives and the choices they've made and what they've become. For some, the reunion is a chance to m ...more
May 16, 2007 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: timobrien
I don't paticular find narritives that are based on people living in or had lived in the sixties entertaining. I am of the generation that was raised by the Great Defiers and I must say, they have done a spectacular job of bettering the world as they matured out of being idealistic narcotic lovers and into hedonistic materialists!

The one exception, beyond nonfictional civil rights narritives, I will read with full vigour is novels by Tim O'Brien. This an author who understand how to evoke mascul
Sep 22, 2014 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, fiction
Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" is one of the best books ever written in my opinion.. Here his writing is top notch and even though I am only about 4 years older than the gang of characters in the book, I didn't care for any of them. Their 50-something angst, the death of the 60's idealism, the effects of the trauma of a war in a foreign jungle, is all portrayed in his exceptionally powerful prose, but I couldn't get connected or feel anything for them. What a sad lot they were!
The best
Feb 09, 2015 Logan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book felt like a sequel to the film "The Big Chill" with the characters having aged another twenty years. I often had the sensation that I was reading a screenplay instead of a novel. O'Brien uses a thirty year college reunion for the class of 1969 as a jumping off point to tell a series of vignettes about moments in the attendees' lives. O'Brien jumps back and forth from the reunion to the personal story of each character and there a number of them. He tells the story of at least ten indiv ...more
Danzel Hankerson
Oct 25, 2015 Danzel Hankerson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't a very good boom in my opinion. It's not bad because of horrible written, it's bad because the characters are so bad in it. I haven't see no characters as whinny as these bunch of @$$holes. I wouldn't want to hang out with any of these people if they were real. It wasn't just me either, the whole class felt the same as me. These mofos are the worst human beings ever and need to grow up.
I do feel bad for Tim O'Brien though, this book was panned so badly by the critics that he quit wr
While the overall quality of the writing was good, as one would expect from Tim O'Brien, the content was a little harder to swallow. The graduating class that he describes in this book has suffered all the harshness adulthood had to offer a generation of kids who believed they would be idealists forever. However, given that he usually writes about Vietnam and its veterans, anybody in the book who was not in Vietnam came across almost a little whiny. It's hard to sympathize with the plight of a n ...more
Robert Beardsley
July, July tells the story of a 1969 college class reunion held in July 1999. The foreword warns of an ensemble cast of characters. This is true, in fact. There are 8 or 9 major female characters. And 3 or 4 major male characters. Take notes—especially for the women. Or as I did, you will get lost trying to figure out who did what to whom in 1969.

Warning: if you are not yet 53 years old, don't read this. All of these characters are flawed. In fact, dysfunctional. In keeping with O'Brien's previo
Debbi Mack
Mar 07, 2016 Debbi Mack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-reads
At first glance, JULY, JULY might appear to be little more than a rehash of the movie The Big Chill. From the start, you know the characters have gathered for a college reunion of the class of 1969, and one of them (a woman named Karen) has been murdered. The resemblance is uncanny. However, such a comparison would do the book a huge disservice.

Like The Big Chill, this book is an ensemble piece. None of the characters truly seem to dominate it, although the story starts off with Amy Robinson and
Mar 01, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been quite a stretch since I've read anything by Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried). I found July, July a great read and liked how he interwove the characters and handled the time-lines of each story. The book takes place in Minnesota on a July weekend in 2000 at the 30th college reunion for the class of 1969 (the faulty math is explained) and looks back on the lives disappointments, desperation, and continuing connections of a small circle of friends. It reminded me of why I don't go ...more
May 29, 2012 Allison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: O'Brien fans, Baby Boomer fiction fans
I am a huge Tim O'Brien fan (even the memory of some of his writing just tears me up) and finally got around to reading this one. Although it is an interesting concept and the characters are well defined and intriguing, I just didn't think this was his best. Naturally there is some breathtaking writing, particularly (and this is no surprise)about one of the characters' experiences in the Vietnam war and a really and truly beautiful chapter about the murder of one character that is really hauntin ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a big departure, in my view, from Tim O'Brien's other works. In July, July, the Vietnam war takes a supporting role, not a starring one, as O'Brien paints a picture of a dissatisfied and disaffected generation - the young men and women who came of age in 1969.

The narrative follows the 30th reunion of a fictional college outside of the Twin Cities. The main characters all stew in the imperfection of their own lives, and reminisce about the "better days" of their youth.

Tim O'Brien's
Apr 14, 2013 Alan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recalling the old George Costanza breakup line, "It's not you, it's me", I wonder what I'm missing when I read a book that so many others liked but I don't. It must be me.

There were a lot of characters in this book about a college reunion, but when I arrived at The Page 100 Checkpoint I found that I didn't care about what happened to any of them. It wasn't that I have to like any of the characters. I can like a book without liking any of the characters, I just have to be made curious as to what
Aug 01, 2014 Carly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun, easy read. It was reminiscent of one of O'brien's other books: The Things They Carried, with pieces of the Vietnam War wrapped into it.

This is the tale of a thirty (one) year college reunion, and focuses on a group of friends. The friends are all now in their fifties, and many are divorced, parents, cancer or other kinds of survivors. The characters in the story are not 100% good. Meaning, I don't necessarily want to be any of their friends, but they seem real. They are struggli
Apr 04, 2009 Cardee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh wow! I'm not sure why I'm just now getting around to reading this one, but boy (!), am I happy that I did. I read it in one sitting and even now, a few days later, I can't get over how wonderfully he captured the spectrum of emotions behind a reunion--the excitement, recklessness, tragic onslaught of nostalgia, the beauty, the grace, the terribleness. Parts of this and certain characters are so well executed, they are brutal. Only now, away from the manuscript, do I see the intense anger and ...more
Dawn Putnam
Aug 09, 2009 Dawn Putnam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters are interesting and I love O'Brien's writing style. It is a pretty dark book for summer reading. I knew it would be going in though.

What really struck me is how O'Brien manipulates the way I read. He alternates between characters - each in longish chapter. By the end, he is alternating almost by sentence. So in the beginning the distance between the characters, the past and their present seemed so great and by the end, time was flying. Sort of like life - sometimes things feel li
Ian Smith
Dec 29, 2013 Ian Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Typical of much of the fiction written from 1996 to 2001: musings of baby boomers and soccer moms abounded in that time. Vain reflections and soul-searches to figure out why their boring (and yet incredibly bountiful) lives are unfulfilling. This book is no exception. Lots of mountains made out of molehills in this one.

Except for one character who was in Vietnam, I felt no empathy for the spoiled, self-centered, "woe is me" sad-sacks throughout the book.

Boring as can be. I can't believe I fini
Jan 25, 2016 Lattefun rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading about the characters' lives will most certainly make you feel better about your own.

A mediocre connection with the characters.

The Bottom Line
Characters are introduced in lightspeed time. Readers cannot nestle into personalities, because each one-dimensional character regurgitates into another. We're left wondering where the last ended and the next begins.

Full Review
If a sandy beach is beckoning you, or if you need to kill some time while waiting at the DMV, and you are not desi
Jan 12, 2016 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read with dismay some of the negative reviews of this amazing text. Frankly, I don't get it. I am not a product of the Vietnam generation (I am 30) but that is not the primary power of the novel. Rather the power of this text is the truth that it reveals about human nature, dreams, and maturation. People have complained that some of the characters are one dimensional ( I don't see it), boring, unlikable, selfish, etc. Yeah folks, that's the point! Look around you. Do you not know a pletho ...more
Aug 16, 2015 Maggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I generally judge a book by the emotions I feel towards its physical occupation of a space. For example, if I walk into a room and a book I like is sitting on the table, I feel drawn to it and enjoy picking it up, carrying it around, and replanting it somewhere near me like a friend I have saved a seat for.

Basically, every time I found a few minutes to squirrel away with "July, July", my heart was like:

Heck yes, time to read more Tim O'Brien up in her

This book was a burst of joy simply to hold, and finishing it came with a real sense of bitte
Benjamin Kahn
Meh. I finished this a few days ago but hadn't had a chance to write a review. I'm having problems summoning up the enthusiasm to write much about this book. I didn't think it was very good - had problems keeping track of the characters, couldn't relate to them, the book didn't really seem to go anywhere.

I have to admit I don't have a lot of patience for boomers talking about their milestones - I've heard a lot about it over the years and don't care anymore. This college reunion is so mired in
Mar 17, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great work of creative writing. The story centers around a college class of 69 which is gathered for a reunion, a year late due to a person's fail to schedule. The book covers the individual lives over the years of the attendees. That was the time of the Viet Nam demonstrations, the fleeing to Canada, the great concerts, but also goes into the emotions of the time. There was among many young people of that time a adjustment of values and these alumni's at this gathering relive and reveal these ...more
Jun 12, 2014 Luke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Things They Carried is one of my favorite books of all time. I also loved Going After Cacciato, and I have an autographed copy of In the Lake of the Woods. Meeting Tim O'Brien was an honor that I'll remember forever, even if it was only a 10-minute conversation with a few other students. There's always been this question lingering in the back of my mind, and in the minds of other fans too, I'm sure: can O'Brien write a great book without writing about Vietnam? without writing a war story? wi ...more
Michael Brockley
Tim O'Brien writes heartfelt books with a soupçon of magical realism that discover the raw wounds in his characters, the bone-deep sorrows and missed opportunities that loiter in each psyche for a lifetime. JULY, JULY is the story of the 30th college reunion of the class of '69 that was held 31years after graduation because the secretary responsible for scheduling the event was incapacitated in 1999. Pulled together at the last minute, the dozen or do major players gather in the humid swelter of ...more
Jan 07, 2011 Denae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of my favorite books by Tim O'Brien. This centers around a former high school class at their reunion and all the ways they've both changed and stayed the same, from the former radical who became an upper middle class housewife to the Vietnam veteran who hears a radio broadcast in his head. Haunting and tragic, this also has all the classic O'Brien elements of humor in chaos and is ultimately very human. Not one of his best, but it resonated with me.
Aug 08, 2011 Phyllis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was about the 30th reunion of a college class of 1969, and focused on a group of about 12 friends, and how their lives had gone over the intervening years. Because of the time frame, Viet Nam, peace protests, politics and the changes over the 30 years are a part of the story. I have read O'Brien's book The Things They Carried, and like the way he writes. He has the ability to really get inside the characters' minds and bring them to life.
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Tim O'Brien matriculated at Macalester College. Graduation in 1968 found him with a BA in political science and a draft notice.

O'Brien was against the war but reported for service and was sent to Vietnam with what has been called the "unlucky" Americal division due to its involvement in the My Lai massacre in 1968, an event which figures prominently in In the Lake of the Woods. He was assigned to
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