Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

Short and sweet because we have fun things happening here today.

I read this when Sean was deployed right after we got married.  I picked it up because it was on a "Buy 2 Get 1" table in Barnes and Noble.  It piqued my interest with its mix of fiction and nonfiction.  And I had already picked out two other books, so why not get this one for free?

This is a book of short stories that center around the men in O'Brien's platoon during the Vietnam War.  He himself grappled with the war's objective and seriously considered a life in Canada ultimately to end up serving and surviving in less than ideal circumstances.  These stories are nonfiction as they are based on actual people and actual events.  They are fiction because some people have been made into a singular character rather than the actual multiple people they were.  Some events are based on O'Brien's beliefs of what actually took place.  It is an odd but easy mix.

The stories are both matter-of-fact and heartfelt.  "The Things They Carried" goes through what one would find in the rucksacks of the men in this platoon: radios, ammunition, weapons, food, water  and their respective weights.   O'Brien also discusses the intangibles they carried:  hopes, fears, responsibility, dreams, cowardice, bravery and their immeasurable weights.  The distance the first lieutenant feels between himself and his love interest at home is characterized as unimpeachable because they "belong to different worlds," and though I've never been a soldier in a war I felt every word that O'Brien wrote about that subject.

Not every story focuses on time of war but also looks at how the soldiers dealt with returning home and how they dealt with not bringing everyone back with them.  It is an easy, enlightening, heartbreaking read.  I would even be willing to pay full price for it.  Now that's a recommendation. Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment