Review: PACO’S STORY by Larry Heinemann

We recently conducted our first read-a-long here at War Through the Generations with Paco’s Story by Larry Heinemann, and our participants seemed to enjoy it.  We’ve got some reviews from them to share.

Scrappy Cat says, “Paco was the only survivor of a massacre at Fire Base Harriette, a location that was supposed to be safe.  He is left for dead for 2 days before he is found by a medic from another company.  Once Paco returns to the US, he takes a bus as far as his money will take him, ending up in a small town in Texas.  He gets a job as a dishwasher, working for a WWII veteran.”

Read the full review.

Jules’ Book Reviews says, “Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was very different than what I normally read, but it was an interesting change. I also enjoyed reading this along with a group, for the Vietnam Reading Challenge read-a-long.  One of the first things the reader is exposed to is the blunt truthfulness, of the narrator. He tells all and isn’t afraid to say it. He speaks with anger, swears up a storm, and makes sure the reader gets all the images – the good, bad, the scary – of Paco’s story.”

Read the full review.

Not Enough Books says, “This isn’t a book to be read lightly.  There are several scenes that some might have trouble reading because of the honesty to them, this is war after all.  There is also a rape scene that some might have trouble with.”

Read the full review.

Diary of an Eccentric says, “The narrative often seems choppy and can be difficult to follow at first, and I saw so many things I missed the first time I read this book in college.  There are many layers to Paco’s Story, from Paco himself to the secondary stories about the medic who found Paco and a promiscuous young woman intrigued by him, among others.  These asides might seem out of place at first glance, but given that Paco isn’t telling his own story, the reactions and observations of the people around him say a lot.”

Read the full review.

Savvy Verse & Wit says, “Heinemann’s language is raw, scraping down to the guts and bones in his readers, making them cringe, turn away, and stand agape.  A number of readers may find the graphic scenes in this novel to be too much, but what makes them uncomfortable are the realities of war and the breakdown of humanity.  Paco struggles not only with why he was the only survivor, but how to assimilate himself back into a society he no longer recognizes once stateside.”

Read the full review.

Literary Feline says, “With both physical and mental scars, Paco re-enters society, going through the motions of life. Readers are offered a glimpse at how a soldier from that war was treated upon his return, both with disdain and occasional pride. We get an inside look at the horrors of war, and Heineman pulls no punches in describing the war in brutal and honest terms.”

Read parts one, two, and three of the review.

 

**Attention participants:  Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

 

Final Week of Paco’s Story Readalong

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

We hope everyone has had a chance to read Chapters 6 and7. Here are some questions for discussion:

1.  What is the significance of the rape scene?  How does it change your opinion of Paco?

2.  Cathy’s diary plays an integral role in Paco’s final decision.  Why do you think it has such a drastic impact?

3.  What are some of the similarities between Vietnam and Boone, Texas?  Differences?

4.  Were you satisfied with the ending?  What are your overall impressions of the book?

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 chapters with the full link to your post.  Also add your links for full reviews.

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

Paco’s Story Readalong Part 3

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

We hope everyone has had a chance to read Chapter 5. Here are some questions for discussion:

1.  Is the identity of the narrator becoming more clear?

2.  What is it about the work at the Texas Lunch that makes it so easy for Paco to assimilate?

3.  What is the purpose of the dream sequences?

4.  Why do you think Ernest and Jesse are so forthcoming with their war stories, but Paco is not?

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 link will bring you to an Amazon affiliate page.

Paco’s Story Readalong Week 2

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

We hope everyone has had a chance to read Chapters 3 and 4.  Here are some questions for discussion:

1.  Do you think Paco is ready to rejoin the living and will he easily re-enter “normal” life?

2.  How do you think the lively atmosphere of Rita’s Tender Tap affects Paco?

3.  Do you think Heinemann made the right choice in narrator, or do you believe Paco should be telling his own story?

4.  Do you think the side stories about the medic who found Paco, the bus driver, and Mr. Elliot, etc., add to the narrative or take too much attention away from Paco, who seems to hide in the background during these asides?

5.  How do you feel about Paco at this point in the book?

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 link will bring you to an Amazon affiliate page.

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.

Paco’s Story Read-a-long Details

For those participants who signed up for the Paco’s Story by Larry Heinemann read-a-long, we’ve devised a schedule for the month of July.

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

For discussions on twitter use the hashtag #Paco

For those outside of the Vietnam War Reading Challenge who are interested in joining the Paco’s Story read-a-long, you are more than welcome to join us.

***Oh, and since I’m forgetful, here’s the button for the read-a-long: (link to image is http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1303/4679014202_5351e02497_o.jpg)

WarThruGen_readalong

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