Derek Emerson's Reviews > The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
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Jul 10, 12

bookshelves: 2006-books-read, 2007-books-read, 2005-books-read, 2008-books-read, 2009-books-read, vietnam, 2011-books-read, favorites, 2012-books-read, 2013-books-read
Recommended for: everyone
Read in March, 2012, read count: 10

I've read this book several times and teach it in a freshman college writing/literature class. It drives my students up a wall and then they love it. O'Brien does a great job of showing the confusion of war in general and Vietnam in particular. But the greatest strength comes in his exploration of truth, simple phrased as "happening truth" and "story truth." What we think of as facts can fall under "happening truth," but what O'Brien successfully challenges us to consider is "story truth," that is our interaction with the facts, that affects truth. If you like your world orderly, O'Brien will mess that up. But he is hard to argue with.

I list this as one of my top ten of all time books (of which I probably have 15 or 20, but who is counting?).
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