Book Club Pick: News of the World by Paulette Jiles

News of the world
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Title: News of the World

Author: Paulette Jiles

Published: October 2016

Rating: ★★★

Summary: Set in late 1800s Texas, this story follows Captain Kidd, who in his old age travels to towns to share news of the world. He is charged with returning a 10-year-old girl back to her family after having been held captive for years by the Kiowa tribe.

My Thoughts: I am a little confused about how I feel toward this book. On one hand, it was a well-written book with a distinct writing style. On the other hand, I never really got into the story and felt like I was reading an excerpt from a larger story. Jiles has a very unique writing style that reads very straight-forward. She also didn’t use quotation marks whatsoever. What I loved about this book was that it covered a really interesting topic: what happens to a child who was taken from her family and raised with a Native tribe? Very interesting. Johanna was really sweet and I really enjoyed the parts of the book that focused on her relationship with Captain Kidd.

Book Club Discussion: This book got mixed reviews in our discussion. I think mostly we were all a bit unsure how to rate this book. My mom seemed to really like the book and read it quickly. The rest of us enjoyed it well-enough, but approached it more like a homework assignment than a book we wanted to read. It took the rest of us a little bit of time and motivation to get through it, but enjoyed it more than we anticipated. Johanna and Captain Kidd’s relationship was a highlight for all of us. There were a lot of characters introduced as Johanna and the Captain traveled, which we had a hard time remembering and keeping straight, and ultimately they weren’t that important to the story. We all agreed that the part that focused on the Captain’s time in the Civil War was boring and hard to get through. This was sort of a middle-of-the road read for us.

Next Month’s Pick: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

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