Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Paco's Story Read-A-Long - Week 2 - chapters 3 &4

This is week 2 for the read-a-long of Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann.  I'm really enjoying the story so far.  I honestly love having these questions and reading this one as a group (even if we are small!).  I don't think I would really contemplate and think about the story this much if I didn't have the questions to answer.  Each time I go to answer a question, I come up with more questions of my own and I realize I'm really thinking about Paco.

1.  Do you think Paco is ready to rejoin the living and will he easily re-enter “normal” life?
  I'm actually not sure yet.  Paco appears to have more physical issues than he does mental issues at this point.  I would think as long as the work wasn't too physically taxing on him, he would be fine.  However, I'm going to guess there is a lot going on mentally and we just don't know it yet.  Perhaps this will come out as the story unfolds.   Of course, there is also the issue of him being on all the drugs to help deal with the pain.  Oh..and it did mention depression drugs too didn't it?  Well, that's not surprising and does go with my guess that there is a lot going on mentally with him.   Also, I'm not sure why he was on the bus in the first place.  Is he running from something?  Did he feel the need to get away from where ever he was at or who he was living with? Does he not have any family or friends he can stay with while he looks for a job (or was this mentioned and I just don't remember or didn't pay attention)?   Or maybe he can't deal with family right now and that's who he is getting away from.  gah...all these questions I know have just in trying to answer this one question!

2.  How do you think the lively atmosphere of Rita’s Tender Tap affects Paco?
   I don't think he was ready for it.  I feel he prefers an atmosphere that is more quite.  Perhaps this is because he has seen things the others haven't and the people seem immature to him? or maybe immature isn't the right word.    It just didn't seem like the type of people that Paco would associate himself with.

3.  Do you think Heinemann made the right choice in narrator, or do you believe Paco should be telling his own story?
  I think the author did make the right choice.  I feel like the narrator can give us more insight, more info on what is going on because we can get it from multiple characters in the story.  Even though this is Paco's story, I think it's just as much a story of how he is doing and what he is going through, as well as how others perceive him.  

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?
  I'm somewhat undecided on this one.  I think some of the stories add to the overall story but some I don't really understand what it has to do with the story.  I think the medic's story was good and glad it was added.  I liked the background on the cook, Ernest, at the cafe who offered Paco a job. I feel that was important to know, it shows us why the cook is offering Paco a job and shows that there is somebody who can relate to Paco.   The bus driver, I'm sure there was a point to the side story but I'm not exactly sure what it was.   So some side stories I like and think are helpful to the story, others I just don't really understand why they were added.

5.  How do you feel about Paco at this point in the book?
  I feel sorry for the guy honestly.  I'm sure he wouldn't want my pity, but I can't help it. I want to give him a hug and let him stay in my spare bedroom and in return he can clean my pool and do the yard work.  (As long as he doesn't set foot in my library).  I feel like he isn't too sure what's going to happen.  He isn't sure where he belongs right now.  I bet he has a lot of guilt..why did he survive but nobody else in his company did?  Is it worth living with all this pain?  I'm anxiously awaiting the next chapters to see how he adjusts to having a job.


Serena said...

This book does raise a lot of questions, doesn't it?! That's one of the aspects I love about the book. I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

Anna said...

It's been hard for us to come up with these discussion questions simply because the book hits you hard. But it's been great contemplating it with you and our few other participants.

I'd like to know more about Paco, but I can see why Heinemann chose the ghostly narrator. And after the stories my dad told me about his return from Vietnam, I really feel for Paco.

Literary Feline said...

I am enjoying the discussion for this one too, Kris. It's definitely a book that offers a lot to think about.

There's a part of me that wishes we could get a little more in Paco's head to know exactly what he's thinking and where he is mentally. You raise a lot of good questions and I've been wondering myself.

I agree with your about the narration providing different perspectives so that we can see what Paco is up against.

I feel like we still have so much to learn about Paco in the final two chapters.