The Things They Carried Review

The Things They Carried Review

courtesy of


“The Things They Carried”  by Tim O’Brien is a masterclass in storytelling, and it does not even have a set story. It is a collection of short stories about the Vietnam War, some of this is based on O’Brien’s own experiences in the war, while other parts are completely fiction. The way each story is written to make it seem that all of them could be true.

O’Brien just graduated college and was off on his way to Harvard for graduate school when he was drafted into the army for the war. In this book, he writes like he is looking for catharsis. As you read the book, O’Brien makes you feel like you’re in Vietnam with him or the main character of the story.

Each story will captivate you in its massive amount of detail. The imagery in the writing makes one feel as if they are actually in Vietnam, and can easily go from describing a beautiful waterfall to a rotting corpse in a hole. “The Things They Carried” is book that, once you start reading, is a task to put down.

A good short story, maybe my favorite one, is the story that shares the same name as the novel, “The Things They Carried”. In the story, O’Brien describes the items that the soldiers carried on a patrol during the war. He describes the utilities and generic things that one might expect a soldier to carry, such as a rifle, a knife or a first aid kit, then he goes on to describe the more personal things that individual soldiers are carried. They carried letters from loved ones or the books they were reading. O’Brien does a really good job at making you feel like you know these men, and like you’re there with them

Whenever a friends asks me for a good book to read, I always tell them to read “The Things They Carried”. It’s a read that will always have your interest and never let it go.