THE THINGS THEY CARRIED is not an easy book to read, or listen to. It’s a reminder of some of the worst bits of humanity. |For those of us old enough to remember, it’s also a reminder of a more confusing time… news was limited to TV and papers, weekly magazines. That war that never should have happened… There is a lot to unpack.
Tim O’Brien manages to cover almost all of them. The utter wrongness of the entire concept of war. The fake patriotism that draws you in, because you don’t want family / country / whoever to think badly of you… so you go. And as an author, there are serious lessons to be learned here. The story, “The Things They Carried,” which is only one section of this, is a lesson in detail, in building a character that doesn’t just fill a hole in your plot, but that lives, breathes, feels and serves consequences that stick with the reader. They carried comic books and photographs, bibles and moccasins… some of them lived, others died.
All of them have something to teach. Highly recommended. Brian Cranston did a wonderful job, as always, narrating the main body of the book, but I have to say that the additional bit at the end, where Tim O’Brien narrates a portion of the book while returning to Vietnam with his daughter, felt more real – the emotion was clearly there.
Now I’ll carry some of the things they carried, in my memory… One more person will remember.