The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien is a collection of stories loosely based on the author's own experiences in Vietnam. I had a hard time putting this book down. I would grab it, thinking I'd get a quick chapter in before doing something else and then end up reading for an hour and forgetting everything else. I'm not usually a big war story person, I'm far too anti-violence/peace-loving. However, this one dealt less with stories of actual fighting or warfare. It deals with a lot of the emotional aftermath of big events or with the boredom and stress felt by the soldiers. The stories jump around a lot and the whole thing is a bit jumbled, sometimes even confusing but it works. To me it felt organic, like I was really sitting there listening to a vet tell his stories.
This book hit home a little for me. I have never experienced war personally but my dad was special forces in Vietnam, POW/MIA and all that. I am the world's biggest daddy's girl and I kept imagining my dad in those situations. It made me think a lot about all that he, and countless others, had to go through. My dad is the most patriotic person you will ever meet and he always instilled in us deep and profound respect for the members of our armed forces. This book only helped to solidify that respect. I couldn't imagine having to go to war like that but I am damn grateful to those who did and those who are still fighting. So, I'll take a second to give a big Thank You to all our servicemen and women.
Obviously, I'm giving this book a big recommendation. Pick it up! Plus, at a mere 230 pages it's a quick and easy, yet compelling read.
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