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Things They Carried - Tim O'brien

I wish I could rave over the brilliance of this novel as many others have.  I can’t give it bad marks because it was well written and full of emotion about the Vietnam war that is very painful and heartfelt.  However it was just strange to keep reading references that O’Brien makes about stories that aren’t true that are really more true than the actual events.  What???  Are the stories he relates true or even mostly true?  Did he kill the slim young Vietnamese man or did he just witness it and it was so painful to him that it was like he killed him?  It is just confusing.  The stories are very good, it's just an issue for me that I want to know what was real and what is make believe.


I can't imagine the agony any young man had to go through when he received his draft notice.  To go war or go to Canada as a draft dodger wasn't much of a choice.  And one statement that O'Brien makes in this book really resonated with me in view of the past decade watching our young men and women die in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He said "It was my view then, and still is, that you don't make war without knowing why.  Knowledge, of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause.  You can't fix your mistakes.  Once people are dead, you can't make them undead."  Yes, exactly