The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

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September 3, 2019 by thewashingteenian

Book review by Joseph Gumedzoe

The Things They Carried is a hybrid book: it is a novel, memoir, and a collection of individual stories all combined into one work. The author, Tim O’Brien, reflects on his experiences while serving in the Vietnam War, as well as before and after being drafted into the war. Certain stories also focus on other characters who represent real people. The individual stories alternate between a few different settings, and many of the stories are from different points of view; for example, one story is told from Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’ perspective, but in third person. Another story is told from the author’s point of view, and one of the stories is a soldier’s account of an event that happened a few months prior.

The dialogue and descriptions are very engaging as a result of Tim O’Brien’s stellar writing. The author is able to “inject” emotion into his writing by putting his exact feelings on paper and being remarkably descriptive, which helps keep the narrative from falling flat or becoming uninteresting. On top of that, the vast changes in environment and perspective as one progresses through each story makes the book compelling and hard to put down, despite all of the stories being centered around the same event, the same platoon of soldiers, and mostly the same time period.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys works related to war or real events, as well as anyone who appreciates good writing and genuine storytelling.

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