GreatFish, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by GreatFish)
It took me nearly two months to have the mental and emotional power to pick up another book after reading The Things They Carried. I tried. I even tried over and over to read other Tim O'Brien books. But I was overcome by the poetry, the grandeur, the skill, the power of this book. I didn't want to read anything else. It penetrated deeply into a place in my spirit. For a while I worried I'd never read another book again.
I didn't go to Vietnam. I wasn't even alive at the time. Many people have written on the subject. Movies have been made. None of them have made me really understand what happened there. I'm sure my knowledge of what happened is still minute. But Mr. O'Brien made me feel. The emotion in his stories touched me deeply. They moved me. I'd say this book even changed me. It's a wonder and a tragedy that human beings pass through the things they do. Tim O'Brien helped me feel for a couple hundred pages the humor, the pain, the guilt, the agony, the shame of Vietnam. The stories weave together to create one singing piece of beautiful and painful poetry. It's gorgeous. This is very high on my list of best books I've ever read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (4 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Richard Bauer, January 31, 2012 (view all comments by Richard Bauer)
This is a collection of stories about Vietnam. It was a painful read. There was a
wonderful part where he wrote about a guy who just graduated from college and got
drafted. He had a couple months before he had to report for duty. O'Brien did a
great job of articulating the bewildering emotions of that guy as his time
approached. I related because I got drafted and went nuts trying to get out of it.
Reading this book brought back how slow time passed and how pissed off and outraged
I felt. It also underscored how anti-war mainstream American society was at that
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
NTN, March 5, 2011 (view all comments by NTN)
I just finish reading this book in my Junior English 3 class. At first we read it, it was boring but as the story goes on it starts getting better. This book contains many short stories about the author going to war. Hope you guys enjoy this book if you guys get a chance to read it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (3 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
curlysguy, January 21, 2010 (view all comments by curlysguy)
One of the most powerful war stories. It stands with The Naked and the Dead, All Quite on the Western Front, Johnny Got His Gun and The Red Badge of Courage.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (15 of 26 readers found this comment helpful)
FBB, December 7, 2009 (view all comments by FBB)
I taught this book to college sophomores for a number of years, and I can say that "The Things They Carried" is the definitive and should be the "required reading" on ALL readers' lists. It is wrenching, profane, violent and true. O'Brien's vignettes provide the reader with snapshots of what happens when "you send boys to war." Brutal and compelling, and ever so worth the read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (11 of 37 readers found this comment helpful)
by Rick Bass, The Dallas Morning News,
"I've got to make you read this book....In a world filled too often with numbness, or shifting values, these stories shine in a strange and opposite direction, moving against the flow, illuminating life's wonder."
by Richmond Times-Dispatch,
"The Things They Carried is more than 'another' book about Vietnam....It is a master stroke of form and imagery....The Things They Carried is about life, about men who [fight] and die, about buddies, and about a lost innocence that might be recaptured through the memory of stories. O'Brien tells us these stories because he must. He tells them as they have never been told before."
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.