Thursday, April 30, 2015
Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"
There are books that serve all different sorts of purposes - books for education, books for entertainment, books for history, and even books that are a mixture of all these. But there are few books that are as powerful, as gripping, or as important as Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried." This is not only a great book for you to check out - regardless of the sorts of books you normally read - but it is, in fact, a vital book. This goes for everyone from parents to teachers to teenagers - and if you happen to be a parent or a teacher, you should make sure your teenagers read this book. "The Things They Carried" is a book about the Vietnam War - just like Tim O'Brien's "Going After Cacciato," which was the winner of the National Book Award. As O'Brien fought in the Vietnam War himself, he is a recognized expert on the war - but even more than that, he is the one writer who can bring the Vietnam war alive, in all its gruesome honesty. "The Things They Carried" is a book of short stories; unlike most books of short stories, however, O'Brien uses the same characters in all the stories throughout the book. In this way, the book has a cohesive narrative that is similar to a novel, in that you want to know what happens to the characters next. But the characters and the stories in "The Things They Carried" are all the more poignant for the fact that they are real. Throughout the book, O'Brien reminds the reader over and over again that the stories he is telling may or may not be true stories. But the point is not whether the specifics of each story actually happened, but is in fact whether the core of these stories happened. And as you read the stories O'Brien paints - stories that range from funny to beautiful to tragic to heartbreaking - you realize that all of the stories are true, even the ones that are not. If you have ever wanted to learn about war, or about humanity, or about life in general, "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien is a must read.