Tuesday, July 13

Read-a-long: Paco's Story - Week 1

One of the challenges I'm participating in this year is The War Through the Generations: Vietnam Challenge. Which has the option of participating in the July Read-a-long, where we'll be reading Paco's Story. Click here for a link if you is to join.

Week 1's Discussion Questions

1. Who do you think the narrator is?
I want to say the narrator is Paco, possibly his self conscious or some part of him that has “detached” himself from his mind/body and is now looking at his life from the outside or maybe as an outsiders view.
2. What does the opening paragraphs of Chapter 1 tell you about the narrator?
That the narrator is bitter and about the war, he’s probably fought in the war and recently returned home. I got the feeling that he disagrees with either the war it’s self, or that he hates how people think war stories are about this glorified fighting, men being heroes etc, and that he’s experienced death and pain, action. Right near the beginning he states “This ain’t no war story.” I get the feeling the narrator, and many who ask his story on his return, never expected what they saw during the war. Overall bitter and anger is what I’m getting from the narrator. I have some ideas floating in my head about this, and I’m not far into the book, but I have a theory, but I won’t share that yet, in case I’m right. Don’t nee to spoil anything.

3. How do you think Paco’s survival impacted the medic’s world view? And how did that change the medic?
I was a little confused on this part, because the medic seemed to be pretty messed up on his world views before he even got to the medic. He seemed to have given up long before he got to Paco. And he didn’t seem to keen on helping him. I got the feeling the medic was hoping for a few wounds on a few different men. Not to see one person who barely survived and someone he “couldn’t help.”

Again, I don’t think the medic was changed by Paco, he seemed messed up long before hand. The only thing I can think of is he is realizing the harsh realities of war. Maybe (like many volunteers for the war) realize what “war” really is. And it’s not this romantic event like you read in books or see in movies.

4. Is Paco’s Story narrated in a way that is “too” honest?
No I don’t think it is. It catches you by surprise at first, on just how harsh and honest it is. But it’s refreshing to see something narrate this way. I think it adds something to the narrator and the story it’s self. I get the feeling the narrator is trying to make an important statement on war and what it does to someone, so he us using brutal honesty to do it.

More information on the Read-a-long.

How it will work: You read the designated chapter(s) and visit War Through the Generations on the Wednesday for the discussion questions

What you do: You read and then talk about what you’ve read so far and answer the discussion questions provided either in the comments on that Wednesday or on your own blog.

Here’s the schedule:
Week 1: Chapters 1 and 2 - Discussion Questions posted on July 7
Week 2: Chapters 3 and 4 -Discussion Questions posted on July 14
Week 3: Chapter 5 - Discussion Questions posted on July 21
Week 4: Chapter 6 and 7 - Discussion Questions posted on July 28


  1. I have been following the posts on this challenge and think that the book sounds really, really interesting to me. I like the fact that it's written in a less than straightforward way and that it focuses on a narrator that is willing to see things from a different perspective. Very nice review! I will be checking back to see how it goes for you!

  2. Thanks for participating in our Read-a-Long. I completely agree about the honest narration. And I'm hoping that the narrator's identity is explained over the course of the novel. It's been many years since I first read this book, and I don't remember.

  3. Thanks so much for participating in the read-a-long. So far, it seems like everyone is in agreement on the honesty of the narration and its importance to the story.

    I really enjoyed your thoughts on the book so far, and look forward to the next discussion this Wednesday!

  4. Zibilee - It is an interesting book, I hope you can join in, or at least read it sometime on your own.

    diaryofaneccentric - I've been enjoying the read-a-long. I've wanted to join book book discussions, and this one has been a good one. I also hope the narrators identity is explained.

    Serena - I noticed that too, that everyone enjoyed the honesty of the narration. Excited to read the rest of the book. I'm actually holding off so I don't finish it to soon.

  5. I agree with you about the medic. Paco seems to me kind of like the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm not sure there was anything unique about Paco that made him react the way he did. He gives up before he even knows whether Paco's going to live or die. I think maybe his trauma was that Paco lived without his help.