Paco’s Story Readalong Week 2

This is week 2 of the Paco’s Story read-a-long, and the second set of  discussion questions were posted on Wednesday, July 14 for Chapters 3 and 4.

If you missed the first round of questions, check them out.  You also can check out my previous post for section 1.

Like the other chapters, readers only see Paco through the eyes of other characters or the unknown/ghost narrator.  We learn that Paco is on medication to keep the pain away, but how much medication would it take to keep the images of war out of your mind?

One of the most memorable passages for me is in Chapter 3:  “He [Paco] is not really asleep, hunched as awkwardly as he is, but mighty groggy from the several additional doses of medication — muscle relaxers and anti-depressants — to the point of a near-helpless stupor.  . . . Paco is in constant motion . . . ” (Page 35)

As readers move through these next two chapters we see Paco move from location to location — from the bar to the diner to the antique store to the barbershop –but in a way, he’s motionless as he sits and listens to each person or people he meets — silent.  Paco is a dichotomy in this way, and it makes him an enigma.

The narrator continues to demonstrate the reactions to Paco the war veteran and we learn a bit more about his recovery, but do we get to know Paco?  Should this story be told by Paco?  Readers may like to understand his inner thoughts, but I wonder if he thinks much beyond the moment.  He seems focused on finding a job and a place to stay, but not much else.

Even if you aren’t participating in the Vietnam War Reading Challenge, we hope that you will join us for the Paco’s Story read-a-long.  Until next week.


  1. I like the perspective the author chose to take with the novel, but I can’t help but wonder what is going on in Paco’s mind. I like how you described him as being motionless. That describes him perfectly. In as much pain as he is in and with the psychological weight of the war on his shoulders, is it any wonder?
    Literary Feline´s last blog post ..Sunday Salon- The Vietnam War My Reading- Part 2

  2. He does seem focused on finding a job and a place to stay, but I think that’s all he can focus on. What else can he do?

    I’m also intrigued by his thought process and what he was like before versus now. I want to know more about him, but we are only getting small glimpses of who he is.
    Jules´s last blog post ..Read-a-long- Pacos Story – Week 2

  3. I’m totally intrigued by this part of the story….I’m sure it’s easier to disconnect than to connect at this point in his life.

  4. It’s funny that for some reason I didn’t focus much on how Paco was just, well, a bit “out of it” and just sort of going through the motions and not really reacting. I think maybe I was focused on more on the actions he did do and the way people reacted to him. That’s one reason I’m loving participating in the read-a-long, I get to see what you and others are saying, and it seems to be things I keep missing.
    Kris´s last blog post ..Pacos Story Read-A-Long – Week 2 – chapters 3 &amp4

    • This is a re-read for me, so I’m sure that I’m noticing things I hadn’t noticed the first time I read this book.

  5. It sounds like Paco is the epitome of the traumatized soldier but it also sounds as if the reader doesn’t know all that much about him personally. I am really interested in following this read along to discover more about this book because the Vietnam War experience is one that really interests me for several reasons. It does sound like a great read! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  6. I must admit I am curious about his thought process, but it could be that he would just be focusing on the physical and mental pain and just getting through the day. That would make the ghostly narrator necessary to provide a glimpse of his surroundings. I think the narrator also is critical in showing what other people thought about the returning veterans, how much support — if any — they were willing to offer.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Review- Sense &amp Sensibility Marvel 1 by Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew