Banned Review “The Things They Carried”

Book Review:  “They Things They Carried”


You can probably tell from my blog, but I don’t usually read the more serious books.  The type of books I usually read – romance, mysteries, thrillers – are like cotton candy for my brain.  They may not be nutritious, but I can’t stop myself from gobbling them up.

It is for this very reason that I decided to go outside the norm for my second book in the Banned Books Challenge and read “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien.  I wanted something raw and real, something to make me think, and I found it in the short stories of war within “The Things They Carried.”

I’d imagine that “The Things They Carried” was probably banned for language or descriptions of death and war.  I’d imagine that it may have offended some people – the grit, the terror, the truth in the fictionalized accounts of Tim O’Brien’s own Vietnam experiences.  But books like this should never be banned – even if you’re offended by these stories or if you’re a person who doesn’t understand why stories like these should be read.  Books should never be banned because the subject matter makes you feel uncomfortable.  Voices should never be silenced.  Books like “The Things They Carried” are more than educational for those of us who never see war…for those who have, they can be a form of therapy and a way to no longer feel alone or forgotten.

Forty-three years old, and the war occurred half a life-time ago, and yet the remembering makes it now. And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That’s what stories are for.  Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” – “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien

If you haven’t read “The Things They Carried,” I strongly recommend it.  Five out of five stars.

And make sure you check out the banned books challenge for 2015, because books should never be banned.



12 thoughts on “Banned Review “The Things They Carried””

  1. Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” is a book that transcends the genre of war fiction. Actually, it transcends the genre of fiction in general. Although labeled “a work of fiction” on the title page, the book really combines aspects of memoir, novel, and short story collection. I think you could use Audre Lorde’s term “biomythography” to describe this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the way you described that -“transcending the genre of war fiction,” so eloquent…and absolutely true. It transcends so many things and is a deeply raw account of war, even though he changed some aspects of his own story to make it somewhat fictional.


  2. I’ve never heard of this but I will stick it on the list as I do like something visceral that gives me insight into such tragic events. It should make an interesting companion to All Quiet on the Western Front.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should definitely check it out. I’ve never read All Quiet on the Western Front, but I’d imagine it would be an interesting companion to it….maybe you can do a blog post on the two together. 😉


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