Review: The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried
By Tim O’Brien
Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780547391175, March 2010, 233pp.

The Short of It:

When it comes to storytelling, memory alone can be unreliable.

The Rest of It:

From Indiebound:

Depicting the men of Alpha Company Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O Brien, who survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three the stories in The Things They Carried opened our eyes to the nature of war in a way we will never forget.

At times, this collection felt very real to me. O’Brien served in Vietnam so the level of detail included in each story really gives you a sense of what it was like there, but there are also some implausible things that take place that remind you that it is indeed a work of fiction. Nevertheless, as a book club read it was an interesting book to discuss.

Memory. How important it is in telling stories like these? Does it really matter if the stories were based on actual events? In this case, no. If O’Brien’s purpose was to give us an idea of what it was like to be on the lines, then I’d say that the author succeeded. The details are grisly and O’Brien doesn’t hold back when sharing the cruel side of human nature. A couple of the stories feature animal cruelty that nearly all of us had a tough time getting through. Overall, the horrors of war were made very clear.

I do not enjoy war stories (at all) but I did find this book to be very readable and it was an excellent book to discuss with a group.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Sunday Matters: Easter at Home

Sunday Matters

This past week was a little nuts. Work, volunteering, registration for a new show. I used to do a lot more than that and it was no biggie but these days one or two appointments outside of the normal stuff kind of makes me crazy. But, all went well and lots got done.

Right Now:

Happy Easter! We hit the Easter service on Friday to avoid the masses so I slept in this morning and it felt great. Plus, I don’t have to go anywhere later. We are staying home, eating a good meal and just lounging around like sloths.

This Week:

I am meeting up with my life group on Tuesday to decide which day we’ll meet now that the series is over. I can’t wait to see what the new topic is.

I have a follow-up for my neck injury on Thursday. The shots are wearing off. I think I may need another round. Will it ever heal?


The Barrowfields is really good and I am almost done with it. I’m thinking about reading Walden next. I’ve never read it!


Bates Motel is really good. Only two episodes left! That show is giving me fits. It’s so well shot. So well-acted. Every time Norman becomes Norma I die. Seriously, I die.


I haven’t cooked all that much but if heating things up and picking up cooked items at the market counts then I am doing okay. Picked up a roasted turkey breast and then made mashed potatoes and maple glazed carrots for one night. Bought some gourmet take and bake pizzas for another night.

Apricot & Mustard Glazed Ham
Image & Recipe: Martha Stewart

Right now the apricot & mustard glazed ham is the oven and it will be served with au gratin potatoes, gluten-free cornbread dressing and creamed spinach. There will be dessert too. A chocolate chip cheesecake!

Grateful for:

Lunch room conversations. In the past, I would find a quiet spot to eat lunch but about three months ago, I started to eat lunch in the work lunch room. A place where no one really ate lunch, oddly enough. But then, people started showing up and now we have the best lunch time conversations. My word this year is “Connect” so I’m trying really hard to make those connections.

What are you doing to today? What is a must-read book you can recommend to me?

Chatting with friends about books and life…