Paco’s Story Readalong Week 1

Welcome to week one of the Paco’s Story read-a-long.

We hope everyone has had a chance to read Chapters 1 and 2.  Here are some questions for discussion:

1.  Who do you think the narrator is?

2.  What does the opening paragraphs of Chapter 1 tell you about the narrator?

3.  How do you think Paco’s survival impacted the medic’s world view?  And how did that change the medic?

4.  Is Paco’s Story narrated in a way that is “too” honest?

Please share with everyone you first impressions, thoughts, and your own discussion questions in the comments or on your blog.  Sign into Mr. Linky if you blog about the first chapters with the full link to your post.

Disclosure: Clicking the book title links will bring you to an Amazon affiliate page.


  1. I remember this book was disturbing, but I forgot just how disturbing it was until I started re-reading it. I can’t remember if the narrator is every identified, so I’m looking forward to finding that out.

    Paco’s Story is brutally honest to the point where the description of Paco’s condition when the medic finds him turns my stomach. But I think it’s necessary to show why some Vietnam veterans had a hard time adjusting when they came home. War is not a pretty thing.

  2. Paco’s story is brutally honest, but I think it needs to be. I really love that Heinemann gets down to the nitty gritty. I kind of like that the narrator is not identified, but I think he’s a ghost of some fallen soldier who is angry not only about his death, but also about the war itself.

    I’ll be posting a longer post about these discussion questions on Friday.

  3. I think he’s a ghost, too, but I don’t remember if he’s ever given a name.

    I don’t know if I’ll get around to posting the questions, but I definitely will be posting a review at some point.

    I hope we’re not the only ones participating in the discussion!

  4. did you read Sandy’s post linked in mr. linky?

  5. I saw it in there but I’m working my way through Google Reader. I might have to stop soon, though, because I have a major headache!

  6. I posted my answers today.

    I didn’t even think about the narrator being a ghost until you all mentioned it, I like that idea though.

    Too honest? nah..I think we need honestly in this type of book, it makes it more real, it drives home what these men really did have to go through and experience.

  7. Funny I just read your answers and commented. I love how raw this book is, though I’m not sure “love” is the best term here. I think in some ways this raw language is the only way we can have an inkling of what it meant to be like as a soldier during this war.

  8. This is definitely not one of those books that sugar-coats things. It’s hard to read, of course, but I wonder how many people have had to stop reading because of the vivid and disturbing imagery.

  9. I’m way behind and just finished the second chapter…I’m hoping to be able to pick up though!

    I’ve been wondering who the narrator is but didn’t think about him being a ghost, that’s definitely an interesting thought. I got the impression though that the narrator experienced the war, and has some bitter feelings about it.

    I must say that Chapter 1 had me a little confused at times, mostly because there are so many terms that I never heard of and had to search their meaning. Chapter 2 got easier although the descriptions got quite disturbing.

    It’s honest, but I don’t think it could ever be “too” honest in such books. I agree with Serena, it’s the only way to understand, to a point, what it was like for these soldiers.

  10. Arielle: Thanks for joining the discussion. It’s ok to be a little behind…we’re grateful that you are sharing your thoughts on the book. Hopefully the confusion lessens for you as you go through the book. Chapter is quite disturbing.

  11. Hi Arielle! Thanks for joining us, even if you are a little behind. We’re just happy you’re participating!

    The narration in Paco’s Story can be very confusing at times. I’m getting so much more out of it the second time around.

  12. […] Story during the month of July.  If you’d like to learn more about the book, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of the […]

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