The Things They Carried

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The Things They Carried

by Tim O’Brien

December 2016

I read The Things They Carried for my MOMS club book club. I have mixed feelings about it. I enjoyed it because it taught me new things and opened my eyes to other experiences and realities. I disliked it because I found the flow hard to follow at points (though it read easily) and the fact that the content was gruesome and difficult to read. I’d say that even though it’s a challenging read, it’s definitely worth reading.

Tim O’Brien is a Vietnam vet who writes in order to cope with his past. His book is filled with both true and fictional stories that are blended together into a memoir of sorts. He recounts his time in Vietnam fighting as well as some of his experiences before and after the war. It truly was heartbreaking, fascinating, and a book I couldn’t help but finish (though it took several sittings because it was hard to read too much at once). That blur between truth and fiction, Tim explains thus, “By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others. You start sometimes with an incident that truly happened, like the night in the shit field, and you carry it forward by inventing incidents that did not in fact occur but that nonetheless help to clarify and explain.”

Summing it up: I recommend with the caution that it is a war story.

All the best, Abbey

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