Reader reviews and comments on News of the World, plus links to write your own review.

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News of the World

by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles X
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2016, 224 pages
    Jun 2017, 224 pages

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There are currently 33 reader reviews for News of the World
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Debra Lerner Schmidt

Historical Fiction
An interesting story about Texas in the 1870s. A rough terrain wih tough people find the main character Captain Kidd as a soft hearted man who does the right thing with a young orphan girl who was kidnapped by the Kiowa. A sentimental journey for both.

I have to say I really learned a lot from a little girl captured by Indians. I learned I have too many things, you can use coins as weapons and you can't always trust blood kin. I collect books. I have several by this author but this is the first for me to actually read. Now I am excited to go back and read the rest of her novels. I would definitely recommend this to my sister to read. Thanks again for the opportunity to discover another author to love.
Marganna K. (Edmonds, WA)

Pleasant read
I enjoyed News of the World. It held my attention & I often thought how I'd like to return from some errand / dinner / etc & get back to reading this small, easily read, engrossing novel. I won't discuss the storyline since the book's dust cover gives an adequate & accurate summery of the story. Many other reviewers have also provided excellent synopses of the story.

I was born in Dallas & raised on farm on the Little Brazos River about 3 miles from the Brazos River mentioned in the story. I lived in Texas many years & visited most of the locations the characters traveled. I considered the geography part of the list of characters, as were the 2 horses.

I found the historical part of the novel interesting & informative. The writing was a little simple & a bit choppy but unlike some stories I've abandoned because of this writing style, I never considered leaving the book & story.

I liked the 2 main characters very much & found them believable although some of situations our main characters found themselves in were once or twice a bit stretched.

Nevertheless, it was an entertaining book with likable characters & with enough history pleasantly told to be a 4 star book.

I have one strict measure about whether a book and/or movie is deemed "good" or "bad" but in honor of "no spoilers" I will not divulge this criteria; however let me say, this book passed that test, I'm very happy to report. When I closed the cover on Capitan Kidd (Kep-Dun) & Johanna's (Cho-henna) story I was satisfied.
Carole A. (Denver, CO)

Many reasons to read NEWS
If you are interested in an unfamiliar view into history - this is a book for you. If you are interested in a familiar view into history - this is a book for you. If you are interested in unexpected moral complexities - this is a book for you. If you are looking for a book to suggest to your book club that offers a number of paths for discussion - read this book!

A smoothly written book of fiction, it is certainly rooted in the actuality of the day to day lives of those times. Imagine paying to have a traveling man read you interesting news from the world beyond your frontier town. Look into the complexities of children kidnapped and rescued. While the discussion is about the frontier days would not many of the same issues apply today as children are adopted from other cultures? Is there a time that a "legality" should be circumvented to be the moral path? Many questions arise in the NEWS OF THE WORLD but it is a book worth reading.
Mary B. (Laguna Woods, CA)

Quick read, interesting subject
I was not aware that men could make a living going from town to town & reading the newspapers to people who paid to hear. The bound that developed between the traveling man & the girl being returned to her relatives after many years of captivity with the Native Americans was touching. It covers a part of the history of Texas that I hadn't thought about.
Loretta F. (Fountain Inn, SC)

Frontier Charm
After reading a few pages, I was prepared to dislike the book. The narrative seemed choppy, and did not flow together. But when I got used to Jiles' writing style, I began to enjoy the ride.

The author does a good job of mixing the charm of frontier life with the expected violence. The Captain is a philosopher who reads the news; a very likeable good guy whose character drives the story. Johanna behaves like the typical Indian captive until she learns to trust the Captain. Their developing relationship makes the book special, lifting it above other Indian captive stories.

The ending was predictable, but satisfying. I liked that I learned a bit of Texas history along the way, and would recommend this for book clubs.
Virginia M. (San Antonio, TX)

Bottom line: I recommend this book
I will start out by saying that I liked this book. Now it would not be a wild enthusiastic endorsement, but rather a pat on the back type of approval.

I love to learn something from the books I read and this book accomplished that goal. . The book is about a journey through Texas by a male senior citizen and a pretty self- reliant 10 year old girl. Captain Kidd was a senior citizen who earned a living by being an itinerant public speaker who read the head line news from a variety of newspaper to folks living in towns and villages in Texas in 1870. The little girl was Johanna who he was hired to deliver to an aunt and uncle after having been forced to live with the Kiowa Indians for 4 years.

While I have lived in San Antonio for over 50 years, I was pretty much unaware of the turbulent and controversial Texas state politics during this period of history. So the book was an eye opener on that aspect. On the other hand, while well described, the other rugged aspects of the journey through Texas by Captain Kidd and his passenger, did not surprise me.

I had previously read other books that were also based on the fact that many such children did not welcome their freedom from the Indian family that was the only life they could remember, they knew, so this aspect did not surprise me. Along this same line, however, I did really enjoy reading about the building relationship between the two of them and the trust and respect that grew within both of them. .

I had a couple of problems to overcome. One was the style of writing. To me, the writing tended to be abrupt as if there was a rationing of words in effect and the author had to get it done with the fewest possible words. And similarly, it also appeared that punctuation was also in short supply so she left out the normal quotation marks, etc. Fortunately, the reader can get used to this style of writing in time and this style result in a book with only 200 plus pages rather than 500 plus pages – and I have the impression that the readers' satisfaction with the book decreases as the pages increase.

Secondly, I had to sometimes say the words that Johanna's words out loud to catch the meaning of every word. The phonetic spelling did succeed in helping a reader to understand her struggle to communicate so you have got to admire the surprising grit of a little girl her age; however, I must confess that a couple of times, I am not sure I interpreted it correctly.

Finally, the cover of the book made me concerned when I first saw it. I thought that the book might be as dull as the washed out colors in the cover. My opinion is that the cover makes it look like something that has been stored away for a bunch of years and only resurfaced recently.
Jo B (Louisiana)

News of the World
I appreciate the chance to review this book, I have read and liked other Paulette Jiles books and looked forward to her writing and the topic (young girl captured by Indians returned to relatives by an old Army Captain).

She did have appropriate amount of tension to keep the reader interested, but I found that I wasn't connected to the characters. I felt like there could have been more depth in character development. The Captain's way of making a living was very interesting. He went stopped in small towns and read or summarized articles from national and international newspapers for the local folks who couldn't read or didn't have newspapers available. Being set in Texas in a time that was still wild and the towns were small was interesting. It did give you a feel for the time and place.

Beyond the Book:
  Late 19th Century Texas

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