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Book Review: The Things They Carried

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message 1: by Shelbie (new) - added it

Shelbie “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien initially caught my attention at a used book store, where I was browing through interesting books to add to my collection. I read the summary, discovering that the plot surfaced around the Vietnam war. Being Vietnamese and having a father who fled Vietnam himself during the time of the Vietnam war and, at the time, knowing little about the war (as my dad rarely let off any details regarding it), I decided to pick up the book.

Throughout the book, the author reveals that certain details in the book simply may or may not be true in occurrence. I have previously and conventionally known that a book, especially a firsthand account with the author himself as a character, is to maintain unknowable truths in order to be taken seriously. By the time I finished the book, however, I discovered that a lot of the details that had been mysteriously left as unrevealed in regards to accountability had been fabricated. And I was able to find meaning in that. I found the author’s honesty about the truth (or lack thereof) appealing, which encouraged me to pursue his intentions of (1) his decision to include this fictional into the book and (2) his decision to claim it as possibly untrue. I found that some of those details gave greater meaning to the book, and attempted to present a situation in a way that was incomprehensible to the reader unless they had been in that exact position. Tim O’Brien, being a war veteran himself, also gave more Ethos to his decision not to include unbreakable truths, as I felt that he had a greater reason to add certain fictional details instead of including his own direct experiences. I found that sometimes, the boundary of truth has to be broken, and that is okay. Further than the integrity of the events, we should look to the deeper meaning and message extracted.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this read, as it focused mainly on the emotions of the characters—the losses, the pain, the guilt, the terror, and most of all, the irrevocable human substance all the characters carried. War veterans are commonly seen as dismal, ruined, traumatized people with unbreakable strength and courage. This book shows the genuine emotions and duality held by the characters—the fear, the connections established with their mates, the laughs and jokes they endured to cope.


message 2: by Brian (last edited Nov 26, 2018 09:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian
Shelbie said: "War veterans are commonly seen as dismal, ruined, traumatized people with unbreakable strength and courage. This book shows the genuine emotions and duality held by the characters—the fear, the connections established with their mates, the laughs and jokes they endured to cope."


Don't you think that is the sad truth about any war veteran, usually left as glorified person that went to risk their lives so they could "protect their country" and would later be forgotten, but their backstory completely forgotten and their true intentions to fighting the war. (view spoiler) The general viewers forget that soldiers also are humans after all, and have emotions just like anyone in the world, (view spoiler) I found your review very alike of what I have experienced while I was reading the book, and I was happy to see another individual who enjoyed to read this book.


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