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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried
Tim O'Brien
Broadway, 1998
Source: Library
Audience: Adults

From Goodreads:
In 1979, Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato - a novel about the Vietnam War - won the National Book Award. In this, his second work of fiction about Vietnam, O'Brien's unique artistic vision is again clearly demonstrated. Neither a novel nor a short story collection, it is an arc of fictional episodes, taking place in the childhoods of its characters, in the jungles of Vietnam and back home in America two decades later.

Well, I was the wrong audience for this book. It's not one that I normally would have picked up, but I read it for book club.

I was super confused as to why this was fiction. The Things They Carried was well-written, because it felt traumatic and real. The main character's name was Tim, the same as the author, and it was written in first person. How is it not nonfiction? I'm guessing it was inspired by O'Brien's experiences. I just don't understand what is what. Finally, there was a lot of violence, anger, and animal mistreatment, which was really hard to read. Overall, I was just the wrong audience for this book.