The novel is told in first person from Richie’s point of view. We know that it is first person because of the first person pronouns used. First person pronouns are I, me, we, us and my.
Orders. Me, Peewee, Jenkins, and another guy were assigned to the 196th. We were going to Chu Lai. I remembered that was where Judy Duncan was assigned. (p. 22)
Richie Perry is a seventeen year old soldier who goes to Vietnam. He clearly does not know what he is in for. He is confronted by violence, fear, and conflict at every turn.
By telling the story from Richie’s point of view, Walter Dean Myers allows the reader to experience war firsthand, through a young soldier’s eyes. We feel his pain, his fear, and his horror.