The Things They Carried is a metafictional account of the lives and deaths of various men who fought in the Vietnam War. The book revolves around duty, shame, desire, "humping," memory, moral ambiguity, and the question regarding what "a true war story" consists of and the central protagonist is a fictionalized version of the author Tim O'Brien.
Although I was required to read it for my English class, the book's unconventional plot progression kept me from getting bored. However, sometimes the author describes grotesque war happenings with such detailed language that the faint of heart may become too disgusted to continue reading - I know I did.
Those who dislike abstraction or philosophy should probably avoid this book. On the other hand, I would recommend this book to people who like to challenge their beliefs and don't mind when others wax poetic about the mundane because The Things They Carried contradicts popular conceptions of war, and because Tim O' Brien takes great liberty in analyzing certain situations from as many angles as possible and in great depth.
Find at the Library