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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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2016, 224 pages

    Jun 2017, 224 pages


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There are currently 36 reader reviews for News of the World
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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.
Rosanne S. (Franklin Square, NY)

News of the World
Thank you BookBrowse for the opportunity to read News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

I can honestly say the premise of the story was intriguing. Children kidnapped by Indian tribes and raised by their captors being returned to their birth families presented a new angle to write about. The author clearly researched her story and the facts regarding the time period are on point as well as the reactions of the kidnapped children.

While I enjoyed learning about these situations, I had major issues with the writing. Firstly, maybe I am too anal about grammar but I cannot understand why authors choose to eliminate quotation marks. It distracts me from what I am reading. Furthermore, it makes it difficult to follow any and all conversations. It becomes a monologue. BORING!!!!

Some other things I did not care for were the heavy historical references. There was a need for some of it to set the time, place and surroundings. I would have enjoyed more emotion. I needed a bit more of a connection to the characters. Lastly, I strongly dislike a story that is predictable, the ending was clear to me by the 25th page.

I am sorry but the feeling I was left with after finishing this book was that I had just sat through a pretty bad western. Perhaps a reader who lives in the regions described in the story would better appreciate this book. The effort was lost on me.

Beyond the Book:
  Late 19th Century Texas

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