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The Things They Carried : A Dark Gritty Emotional Tale of War

Updated on August 3, 2018

The Things They Carried by Tim O’ Brien

So one of worst things that could happened to my wallet has occurred in the last few months. The small house next door has been renovated into a thrift store with a steady ever changing collection of used books. And with my book wormy tendencies, that cannot be healthy at all, because I’ve been buying books there. Today's book came from there. It is a book I got there called The Things They Carried by Tim O’ Brien.

The book is a nonfiction collection of stories recollecting various events of a soldier and his platoon in Vietnam. The stories vary conceptually and are engaging tales that are written in a beautiful fashion. One tale is about his first day in the war. Another is about how at first he ran away to Canada when he was drafted, but met an old man who made him come back. Then there are the bizarre stories such as how his friend died in a river of poo or how man smuggled his girlfriend onto a medical base, and how her new found fascination and love for killing people led her into the jungle to never seen again. The stories tie to each other roughly but not all are not chronological and are much more emotionally driven than action driven.

The good? This is an amazingly entertaining. The tales are short, yet wonderfully detailed and thought provoking at the same time. The stories are abstract, odd, and wonderfully raw. The author does not tell the tale of soldiers as true blue heroes fighting for their country, but as fragile young naive broken men, who often times take on a bizarre morbid sense of humor to handle things or must travel down a dark road that leaves them on the brink of insanity. It’s dark, gritty and wonderfully written.

The bad? I really wish there was something bad to say about this book, but there isn’t. Every story here is great and it is paced out incredibly well.

Overall, it’s a great book that everyone should read. Even if you don’t like war, this is still a piece of history. And I feel that everyone to some extent should understand what terrible things these soldiers went through. And O’ Brien here is just a great writer on top of all of that. Much like Michael Crichton, he could probably write a cooking recipe that’s exciting. So just read it if you get a chance.

4 smoothies out of four

Overall Rating: A Dark Gritty Emotional Tale of War

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