Things They Carried, The

Tim O'Brien
A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.   The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O’Brien, who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three.  Taught everywhere—from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in creative writing—it has become required reading for any American and continues to challenge readers in their perceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, courage and fear and longing.


Reviewed: 2017-04-12

had a hard time getting into it. it seemed kind of flowery for stories about war at first, but then I decided I had to try harder and give it more chance because poetic language for war isn't reserved only for ancient literature. But I still didn't love it.

Reviewed: 2016-10-19

The Things They Carried was, for me, one of those books that seemed eternally damned to be on my “I’ll Pick It Up Soon” list. The knowledge that I will be teaching it to several classfuls of high schoolers and three days of substitute teaching assignments and I can release Tim O’Brien’s powerful, provoking memoir-of-sorts from its purgatory.


Recounting various versions of the things Tim O’Brien and his fellow soldiers experienced in the Vietnam War, this novel challenges the constructs of truth, of war, of the experience of life as a whole in a narrative manner I have seen successful few other places. Rather than giving a chronological account of events, O’Brien smears a smorgasbord of stories and versions of stories across the canvasses of our minds. The crazy thing is that he never, never lets on to which version is true. Each one is captivating, brilliant in its scope and emotion, symbolic in its meaning, and captures something profound these men lost or found in the deep wilderness of the world. And morality.



The Things They Carried is an important book, one that deserves no sentence on anyone’s “I’ll Get Around to It” list. It is a study in great writing. It is a study in great life; tragic and horrific most times, but great nonetheless. It is a beautiful piece of propaganda, neither wholly for nor against the war but certainly for inevitability of war as a force of nature, of the endurance, however threadbare and dogged at times, of the human spirit. There is not much more I feel would be right to say about this book, except to encourage any reader to experience it for his and herself.

Reviewed: 2016-06-07
Good book but definitely a war story deluxe
Reviewed: 2015-11-26

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