News of the World Book Review

Being a young child and having been held captive by a Kiowa tribe for 4 years, Joannah doesn’t know much English and so I loved how the author chose to write in her vernacular; I’ve not read this a lot (mainly in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help) but being a former English Language student, I find it fascinating, and it really aids in making the story immersive. Throughout she calls the captain “Kep-den” and moments like that really helped me carve out her character in my mind. Speaking very few words in the book’s entirety, what she did say became much more impactful because of it – her silence alone wouldn’t have been this poignant.
Despite my love of the story itself, one thing which I could not get on board with was the lack of speech marks for the dialogue. I’ve read books without speech marks before and I’ve seen how authors use it to make the narrative flow like a stream of consciousness and up the pace. However, on this occasion, it only jarred my progress as I kept having to read passages again, not knowing if it was dialogue or narrative.

The allure of News of the World really comes from the relationship between the Captain and Joannah; made stronger by every encounter they have in the towns they pass through, by the end, you’ll be wholeheartedly invested. With its wild and barren surroundings of southern Texas, the novel had an interesting setting, but at its heart, because of their relationship, this is really a character-driven book.
Title: News of the World
Author: Paulette Jiles
Type: Fiction
Published: 2016
Pages: 208
TW: Violence, Racism, Abuse
[Thanks to Harper360 for sending me a copy of this book]
With a surprising amount of heart, this story is quietly impactful and will almost definitely have touched you by the time you turn the last page. I’m very excited to see this on the big screen and I think it will perfectly transport its viewers as it does its readers and I can’t wait to see how Tom Hanks portrays Kidd too!

“Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.”
7.8Intruiging, Compelling, Unexpected

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Review overview




In 1870 Texas, Captain Kidd journeys from town to town reading the news to anyone who will pay to hear it. When he’s offered gold in return for allowing a girl (a former captive called Joannah) to accompany him, Kidd reluctantly agrees, hoping she won’t be too much trouble. As they continue Kidd’s journey together, their relationship deepens as they both discover surprising things about one another. News of the World is a story of love, of friendship, and of endurance, a story that shows sometimes those things can come from the most unexpected of places.

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