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The Things They Carried
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May 2020: Other Books > The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien - 4 stars

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Kelly | 783 comments Author, Tim O’Brien’s book depicting the Vietnam War was written twenty years after his service in the military. It is comprised of short stories linked together. Although the story begins with what equipment and personal objects people in his unit carry with them and how much it all weights, it is soon clear that the men in his group have much more with them. They have things like guilt, embarrassment, youth, loyalty and friendship.

O’Brien tells of a difficult decision to go to war instead of avoiding it by traveling to Canada. Which one is the braver way? He discussed soldiers who had no one to talk with about the war after returning home. Towns did not want to hear about experiences in Vietnam or have to address messy issues. Long term affects are included. O’Brien relays that war is ugly, but there is some beauty in it also. Especially in friendships formed.

Many of the chapters are moving and it is not always clear what is truth versus what is not. The author has pointed out that what happens in war is often repeated by others and exaggerated. Perspectives also change over time. Although this book is about the war, it is much more. The relationships between the men is the true story. It was well written and its moving between past and present allows a fuller picture to be given.


Jason Oliver | 2063 comments In High School, I presented to the Board of Education the need for a creative writing class. It was created and the teacher assigned two books at the beginning of the year. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Things They Carried. We never got to discussing the books in class, but I did read them. I was also able to speak to my grandfather about The Things They Carried. My grandfather was in the Korean and Vietnam War. My grandfather and I created a bond over me taking an interest, not only in his military career, but his life.

I don't remember many of the details in the book, but I do remember enjoying it and it being profound to me at the time. Most importantly, it helped grow the relationship between my grandfather and me.


message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8291 comments That’s beautiful and touching Jason. I love how books can touch and bind people together. I read this book earlier this year because my oldest son had to read it for English class. They actually had to write an essay on the things that they carried, which I thought he did a really beautiful job on. I also thought the book was memorable and stayed with me.


Kelly | 783 comments Jason wrote: "In High School, I presented to the Board of Education the need for a creative writing class. It was created and the teacher assigned two books at the beginning of the year. [book:The Curious Incide..."

I definitely agree with Amy that it was very nice that you were able to be closer with your grandfather by talk about this book.


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