Actually, this is more than about just a few words, I want to talk about a book today. This particular book is called The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. It’s about the Vietnam War, but it’s surprisingly good. Actually, it’s not just good, it’s amazing. One of the best pieces of fiction I’ve come across in a while, which is weird ‘cause I’ve been reading a lot of good fiction recently. Maybe the fact that I thought I wouldn’t like it is the reason that I love it so much. Now, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. If you know me, you know I’m crazy already, but that’s not really the point. The point is that it’s weird for me, probably the most anti-conflict person you’ll ever meet, to not only like, but love, a book about war. But this book really is very good.
The Things They Carried is comprised of many short stories, all relating to the author’s experiences in the Vietnam War. If after reading this you feel like reading it, but can’t get all of it, at least read the parts “The Things They Carried” (yes, it shares a name with the novel itself) or “How to Tell a True War Story”. Those two fill you with this deep, profound pain. Literally, after reading them, my heart is searing with that pain, but it’s so real. They break my heart, but there’s a certain beauty about them that convinces my heart that it likes being broken. I have some friends who want to join the military, and maybe it’s that fact that makes O’Brien’s stories so real for me. It really is so real, and you can feel the realness of the story just emanating from the words, touching your heart, and making you feel like those things happened to you.
There are some books that, after reading them, all you can do is sit and say, “Wow. That was so good.” They’re so good that you don’t have the words to explain how good they are. Fellow book lovers will understand me, and I hope that the rest of you have experiences like this that convert you into being book lovers. But for me, I have had so few of those experiences recently. Those experiences are more grounded in my childhood with the books, Little Women, The Tale of Despereaux, and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light. But recently, I haven’t had those experiences. Until The Things They Carried. Like with all superb books, I can’t explain how good it is. There are some books that talk to your head, but there are others that talk to your heart and make your heart feel. I know that sounds super cheesy, but that’s the best way I can describe it. I feel the emotions, and it’s just so beautiful, and unfortunately, I can’t explain that to you. I would recommend this book to anyone willing to glimpse the horrors of war. Every writer ascribes to get to that point where it’s not the writer speaking, but the words themselves that speak. Tim O’Brien has achieved that, and I love it. Thank you, Mr. O’Brien.
p.s. sorry that I couldn’t be eloquent and figure out how to explain this well. I used to have good words for what I’m trying to convey, but every time I remembered one, I would forget it right after.
p.p.s. sorry for not posting yesterday, I was just very busy and didn’t have time to write.