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I'm so glad you liked this a s much as I did. I'm really impressed by this book. It was so much better than expected. I'm not surprised it was the book with the highest respone discussion wise. Like you I was glad more than once that something turned out to not have been completely true. I love this book which is amazing , as after all, it alos is about the war in Vietnam and some elements are gruesome. But overall it's a beautiful book and incredibly thought-provoking.


I read parts of this for a college course. It's incredible. I own the whole book now and am waiting for the right moment.

I love knowing nothing too, when I enter a book. :-)


Your review of this book sounds fascinating. I had friends in high school tell me I probably wouldn't like it because it was too violent/depressing. Is that an accurate description? It sounds like it would still be worthwhile, though.


Caroline--I really enjoyed this and it was thought-provoking in ways I totally wasn't expecting. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first picked it up--but I was very impressed!
Jillian--It's well worth reading the book in its entirety--especially if you liked what you read before. It's rare that I go into a book "cold" so this was a perfect reading experience for me.
Rebecca--There are definitely some difficult things to read about in this story. There were some graphic scenes and some very sad scenes, but strangely it is not a book that I feel weighted down by coming away from. I'm not sure if I can explain why--maybe because they are stories he is telling and I got so caught up in the idea of storytelling and that not everything was real--the stories being more real than reality it just moved it onto a different sort of plane. I know some of the stories have been anthologized so you might just try one or two to see if it's something you might like. I thought it was a totally worthwhile book.


I've heard nothing but good things about this one. My teenage son recently read this one and said it was GREAT. Between your review and his, I am sold!


I read Caroline's review of this book, too, and he seems to be a writer who really makes an impact. I tend to prefer war stories about the people left behind to get on with their lives as best they can, rather than stories located in the thick of the action. But I'm intrigued now after such a strong recommendation from both of you (whose opinions I value very much!). I'll have to look out for him.

Liz F

I don't know a great deal about the Vietnam War and I do like reading outside my comfort zone sometimes, so this is another book to look out for.
Thanks for the review!


Out of all the reviews I've read of this book yours is the one that makes me really really want to read the book. Now, if only I could figure out a way to fit it into my reading schedule.


I was very interested to hear what you had to say about this book, because my 17-year-old, reluctant-reader son is reading this for school and liking it. I may have to pick it up when he's through. I don't believe I've ever read anything about the Vietnam war, generally preferring much lighter topics, but this certainly sounds worthwhile.


This does sound like a true gem of a book. Wishlist Christmas I think.
On a sidenote,health interfering, I am commenting far less than I would like too.


Kathleen--Several people now have told me their children have read this in school and loved it--I can see why as it is a very accessible and well done story. I'm glad I read it, too. It's really nice, too, to hear that high school students are finding good books to read in school!
Litlove--To be honest I am generally with you on preferring to hear about those who were left behind rather than the more graphic accounts from the battlefield, but this one was so well done--I loved it. I don't do very well with intense, or gruesome scenes but O'Brien handles them very well. I already have brought another book by him home from the library!
Liz--I've never really been drawn to this period either to be honest. I think this would be an excellent place to start however. It's also a very quick and engaging read!
Stefanie--This is worth squeezing in when you can! It was a very powerful story, and it is fairly short too (if that helps!:) ).
Kathy--You'll have to let me know what he thinks when he finishes. I wasn't really sure what to expect or expecting to like it as much as I did, but it just struck a chord with me. It is most definitely a worthwhile read.
Catharina--Very sorry to hear you have been having to deal with health issues. I love hearing from you and always look forward to your comments, but no worries-do take care! We can always catch up when you are feeling better. And I hope this turns up under your Christmas tree!


I truly appreciate your review of this. I actually have it, sitting on a pile, waiting . . .

I was in high school and college during the Vietnam War, lost a childhood schoolmate in it not long after we graduated high school, recall the years of escalating troops and escalating protest. Your review is so compelling and I am anxious to read The Things They Carried soon.


I suppose I am in the minority on this book. While I think the title story is about as good as anything ever written on Vietnam [I am a Vietnam-era veteran who did not serve in Vietnam, but helped to set up field hospitals for Vietnamese refugees when Saigon fell in 1975], I was underwhelmed by the rest of the book.

For me, the best book on that era remains Michael Herr's Dispatches.


Penny--I was born during the war but was too small to remember anything about it. I only remember my oldest sister had a sticker on her bike about POWs. I'm glad I read this and hope to read some other books by O'Brien and about the war--I should really know more!
AJ--I don't think any one reader's thoughts on a book are more valid than any other's--reading is so subjective and we bring such different experiences to reading--I've actually read a number of reviews that were less than glowing, so I think there is a variety of opinions on the book. It just clicked for me. I will have to see if I can find a copy of the Herr book as I'd like to read more. It sounds like nonfiction?


I was not suggesting that my views are more or less valid and I'm sorry if it seemed that way. I was just clarifying where I -- as a reader -- was coming from.


AJ--I'm so sorry--my comment came out wrong--I think there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to books, only different responses--and they are both valid (which is what I should have said). So sorry if my poor wording was confusing--totally didn't mean to make it sound as though I was offended by your comment--as well I totally don't mean to offend you or other readers!


No worries -- your wording was just fine. I just wanted to clarify because my comment might well have been read as if I thought my opinion was somehow more valid than other readers ... which wasn't my intent at all. :-)


AJ--That's always the tricky thing about chatting this way--it's hard sometimes to convey the intent of what we're saying. And it's totally okay not to like the same books. :)

Rebecca H.

This sounds fabulous! I've read one story from the book, but it would be very interesting to see the context within which that story fits. I'm sure it's much more impressive as a complete whole. I like it that the structure is so interesting -- that's definitely appealing to me.


Rebecca--I think you might like this--it is a little different than your usual book of short stories--each going off in its own direction. I think a number of them can easily be read on their own, but I liked how they fit together. I was very impressed by this one.

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