July, July
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July, July

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,929 ratings  ·  149 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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Melki
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...more
Bessie James
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...more
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
Natalye
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
Amy
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
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...more
John
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...more
Debbi Mack
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...more
Susan
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
Allison
May 29, 2012 Allison rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jesse
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...more
Alan
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...more
Cardee
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
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...more
Ian Smith
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...more
Jim
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
Luke
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
Denae
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.
Phyllis
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.
Jessica
Ok, so everyone loves The Things they Carried... I think it's great too, but this one is awesome. O'brien usually deals with some nuance of war, and this is the first book where he really just talks about people...Alumni to be exact of college...at a reunion... middle aged alumni... and O'brien uses all the dry sarcasm and humor in his power to make this one eye-catching and mind-bending at the same time. Makes me wonder where I'll be in 20 years...
Bonnie G
Of course this book was interesting to me since the main characters are my age and went to college in Minnesota. But beyond that, I was taken by their probing thoughts about themselves woven through a banal event: a class reunion. I don't recall anyone in my class appealing to me the way these people seem to be entangled, but I loved following their convoluted emotions. Not a challenging book, but fun to read if you came of age in the 1960s.
Bryan Davis
Wow! This book was absolutely amazing. Set around a college class reunion, this book follows ten characters as they reignite old flames, question their major life decisions, and cope with the loss of their better years. Alternating between chapters set at the reunion and character-designated chapters set in the past, this book presents a story that is true to life and is a definite page-turner.
Elizabeth
A group of friends gather together at their thirty year college reunion. These people graduated in the late sixties as the U.S. was involved in the Vietnam war. Many of the friends protested the war, one dodge his draft assignment by fleeing to Canada and one is a veteran of the war. All of them have been affected by the choices made in youth; some more than others.

O'Brien has a way of interweaving the stories that makes them readable. There are ten major characters, so it takes a while to get...more
Anna Todd
I found this to be a very compelling read as I felt like I was right there with the characters. The book was that good.
Caroline
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
A.J.
So here's the thing: there was this war, and lots of people didn't like it, and they all wore clothes with psychedelic flowers on them and believed in high ideals. And then they got older and, while staring at their navels, noted the absence of said psychedelic flowers, and lamented their lost youth and banjaxed ideals. And they thought this was all tremendously important, because it had something to do with their navels, at which they spent a great deal of time staring, and anything that so man...more
Sharon
This book deals with a group of friends from the class of '69 of Darton College who come together in July 2000 for a class reunion. The friends have complex relationships with each other and that complexity plays itself out once again as they gather to enjoy each other's company once again. The hopes and dreams most of them had in '69 have gone far afield from their original plans. As they reconnect with each, O'Brien deals with the inner struggle of each character as they attempt to find redemp...more
Damon
I never actually started this, it's just been sitting in my bedside reading pile. So off it goes to "to-read" for now...
Okay, now I actually started it, so back it goes. So far, it could have waited a while longer.
Alright, now that I'm done - I feel like I'm a bit too young for this book. Kind of surprisingly I can relate to the characters in the more overtly Viet Nam stuff O'Brien writes than in this. The characters in this all are part of the class that graduated from a certain college in 1969...more
Anna
Having read some of Tim O'Brien's work before, it had some promising parts to it. His recap of the war and general tragedy was realistic, as well as somewhat depressing at times. Despite the mixture of chapters it was the character's back story that kept the momentum of the story going; the reunion chapters were at times dull; at the lack of closure on most (if not all) was a little frustrating - I guess that was the wider moral. It was alright overall, nothing life-changing.
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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...more
More about Tim O'Brien...
The Things They Carried In the Lake of the Woods Going After Cacciato If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home Tomcat In Love

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