Book Review

NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles

I received a complimentary copy of NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles from the publisher. Thank you to William Morrow Books!

Rating: 4 / 5

NEWS OF THE WORLD is a book that has received a lot of attention as a finalist for the National Book Award and a movie with Tom Hanks in the starring role, but it isn’t one I was overly familiar with. The synopsis intrigued me though and when I wanted a quick read (this one is only about 200 pages) at the end of February, I decided to pick it up.

NEWS OF THE WORLD is set in the the US after the Civil War. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd spends his time traveling around to give readings of the news to paying customers without access to the news of the world through other means. He is a loner, used to living on his own schedule and his own means.

The Captain is offered a hefty price to transport a young orphan girl named Johanna to relatives in San Antonio, and he agrees. Johanna was abducted by the Kiowa riders who killed her family but kept her alive and raised her as one of her own. After the army “rescues” her from a life she didn’t want to leave, she is now thrust back into a new, unknown world. Together the two have 400 miles to travel with many perils along the way.

I can see why this book has been adapted to film – it definitely reads as one that will translate well! While the story largely centers on two characters and their growing relationship, there is enough action and drama along the way to keep the story moving.

The author packs a lot into the relatively few pages of this book! It gives a very good look at the time period being dealt with and the hardships faced by the characters in the post-war time period. It was very interesting to follow Johanna as she was forced to reacclimate herself to the ways of life she was born into, but not the one she has grown to know as her own. I really appreciated the notes at the end that gave a bit more information about the issues faced by captured children upon being returned to their birth families.

This was a very intriguing read and a movie I will definitely want to check out!

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