Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

Copyright:2009 (original pub date is 1990)
Publisher: Mariner
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 233
Challenges: War Through the Generations - Vietnam, New Author Challenge, Buy 1 book and read it
New-to-me Author: Yes

This is a short story collection.  Each of the 22 stories deals with the Vietnam War.  The stories are either about things that happened while fighting the war, being drafted, or what happened after the war.

I always find it hard to review a short story collection because I don't want to write about each story, yet if I don't how do you get an idea about the book?  I think if I do write about each story, I end up giving too much info, because it is a short story and not a full length novel.   So I'm just going to generalize about the collection as a whole and not focus on individual stories.

There were some stories I liked more than others, yet I still liked them all.   I like this book because the author says it's fiction, yet the main character is named Tim.  The stories read like it's a memoir or some other non-fiction book.  You can picture the stories happening.   I liked that the characters were the same from story to story.  No, not every character was in every story, but they all showed up more than once.  I think it helped the book flow.  It gave the book the feel that it was a full length novel and not a short story collection.  Although, I will warn you that even though it flows well, the story line does jump around.  This doesn't cause an issue with the story though.

This is only the 2nd book I've read for the War Through The Generations challenge and I'm so glad I read this one.   Even though it's fiction, I think it gives the reader a good idea about what it was like.  What it was like getting a draft card for a war you don't believe in.  Going to war and having to find a way to cope with the death and the things you have to do and the people you have to be with 24/7.  Then you have to come home and try to go back to "normal" life.

I actually finished this book on Thursday, but I wasn't ready to review it just yet.  I kept thinking about it.  In my mind, that's what makes a book stand out, one that you can't review right away because you are still trying to wrap your mind around it.

This is definitly a book I recommend to others.  Whether you are participating in the War Through The Generations challenge, interested in the Vietnam War, or none of the above, I think this would be a good book to read and ponder over.

Since my reviews of short story collections always seem to be lacking as a proper review, click HERE to go to the review page for this book at the War Through The Generations Blog.  This book has also been reviewed by several others and you can read a snippet and also click through to the individual blogs to read the full review.

This book is part of my collection and was either bought or given to me.


bermudaonion said...

I thought this book was fantastic too!

Hannah Stoneham said...

Sounds very interesting indeed. For some reason, a lot of short stories seem to emerge from war. Great post, thanks for sharing


Anna said...

I've pulled this one out for the Read-a-Thon on Sat. I've heard nothing but good things about this book, and I'm glad the stories have the same characters. That'll make it easier for me, as I'm really picky when it comes to short stories.

We'll get this up on the challenge blog soon!

Diary of an Eccentric

Anna said...

We posted about your review here on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric