The Things They Carried By Tim O’Brien Book Review

First of all Tim O’Brien if you ever read this I just want to politely tell you to “Go up a dark alley and yell fish” (props to whomever can name that movie) because while I liked your book immensely the way you tug at my heart strings is just cruel. Don’t you dare dedicate your book to fallen soldiers who don’t even exist. I get that most often times true war stories aren’t listened to because they aren’t interesting enough, so you had your reasons but honestly when I found out this book was fiction I was very angry. I thought it was embellished non-fiction like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series Little House on the Prairie-real life events just not remembered exactly as they were.


Now that my little rant is over I genuinely loved reading this book, despite it not being something I would have picked up on my own and read (had to read it for class). I am not a huge fan of war stories, mainly because that is just not something I am interested in. These stories are intense, beautifully written and bring the war to life in such a way I can’t help but be interested and invented in these characters. That fine line between reality and fiction is what brought these stories to life and I can understand why O’Brien chose to write them this way. No one wants to hear actual war stories because they aren’t so nice sometimes nor exciting (I knew an elderly man who spent the entire world war II trying to find the naval ship he was supposed to be on. There was a mixup with the paperwork and he was sent to the Army instead of the Navy so he spent his war career just trying to go where he was supposed to originally be). My favorite thing about this book is the narrator is rarely seen and when he is spoken about nobody remembers who he is. It speaks to what O’Brien is trying to accomplish with his book-the focus should be on the men who lost their lives and what the war did to them.

I honestly don’t know if I would read another of O’Brien’s works but if I had to I wouldn’t begrudge doing it.


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