The theme of this book is a complex one. There are actually several of them, but the theme I focused on the most was the inability to control one's own life. Life is not fair, and oftentimes the people who deserve something the very least are the ones whom it happens to. Linda is a perfect example. I felt so much compassion and sadness for her as I read about her brain tumor. She seemed like the sweetest girl and never once did she complain about her sickness. Tim is still convinced to this day that they truly loved each other, and I suppose that may in fact be true. That being said, the theme only becomes more powerful that life is not fair. As a young and naive nine year old, Timmy lost the girl he loved before he even came to truly know her. It was a rude awakening to the hard realities of life, and in my opinion a tough way to be introduced to death. However, it is my belief that everything happens for a reason. Therefore there must have been a reason God allowed Linda to die. Maybe Tim had to experience this pain in order to be better prepared for Vietnam later on in his life. Also, in a way, it introduced him to what he loves to do . It gave him the ability to story-tell and bring people back to life through his words and dreams. As an adult, he turned these dreams to novels. We may never understand why things happen to us, but it not necessary for us to understand. That is the mystery of life; we are never fully prepared for what comes next.
"And then it becomes 1990. I'm forty-three years old, and a writer now, still dreaming Linda alive in exactly the same way. She's not the embodied Linda; she's mostly made up, with a new identity and a new name, like the man who never was. Her real name doesn't matter. She was nine years old. I loved her and then she died. And yet right here, in the spell of memory and imagination, I can still see her as if through ice, as if I'm gazing into some other world, a place where there are no brain tumors and no funeral homes, where there are no bodies at all." (page 232)
"I'm young and happy. I'll never die." (page 233)
As long as Tim O'Brien writes, he feels like his memory will never die. Since writing is what makes him so peaceful with his life, I'm glad that he has the opportunity to do it.