This incredible book of stories resurrects cultural emotions I’ve never fully understood. It’s about Vietnam and soldiers, life, and all that.
But that’s not what I want to talk about.
What I want to talk about is how strange this book actually is. Throughout, we get the narrator saying things like “this is how it really happened to me,” leading the reader to think the “me” is Tim, the author. It’s very meta and makes you believe that all of the stories are creative non-fiction accounts by Tim of what happened around him during his service.
I don’t know.
I haven’t looked it up, either, because I really do enjoy the mystery. It also adds a lot of value to what O’Brien does as an author — i.e. makes the reader (or at least me) believe in everything he is saying.
You owe it to yourself to read The Things They Carried in its entirety. It’s a completely different kind of book/book of stories.