Thursday, June 26, 2014
Book 112: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (Audiobook)
This is a beautifully written book. Tim O'Brien drew from his own experience in Vietnam and wrote this series of short stories about the experiences of his platoon. The audiobook, read by my very favorite audiobook reader, Tim Stechschulte, who has a raspy, gravelly voice that I just adore.
O'Brien captured - for me - the plight of the soldiers - just trying to survive from day to day in this ridiculous mess they had entered because they were expected to do so. "Too afraid to be brave" to dodge the draft is the term I believe he used. He said he was a coward, so he went to war. That's a different way to put it.
The platoon encounters all of the difficulties most people know about Vietnam - the trenchfoot and the snakes and the bugs - but discusses in further detail the kills, the sadness, the odd appearance of an American civilian, and the sounds of the jungle. This isn't your average Vietnam war memoir.
I don't know that I would have loved this book as much if I had picked up the hard copy. The reader, for me, made this book feel authentic. I loved it.