Friday, January 15, 2021

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

This book is a wonder. It takes topics that normally wouldn't grab me (an old former soldier travelling around the Old West, a tragic tale of an orphan that sounds way too sad for me) and it snares me, hook, line and sinker. 

News of the World by Paulette Jiles introduces us to Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd as he makes his way through Texas post Civil War, making a living giving readings from a stack of newspapers to audiences seeking a window on the world. The old man has fought in two wars and lost a wife, and now enjoys his rambling life on the road. When he's asked to deliver a young orphan who had been captured and raised by members of the Kiowa tribe to her only living relatives, he reluctantly agrees. The heart, understanding and courage he displays on the perilous journey is matched by the young girl's bravery and tenacity in the face of being torn from the only family she remembers – her Kiowa family.

I first read this delightful book in 2016. It's beautifully written, telling a story with so much heart and intelligence I couldn't help but love it. Later I revisited it by listening to the audiobook, impeccably narrated by Grover Gardner. The audio version was a distinctly new and rich experience for me, and it was well worth enjoying this book as both a read AND a listen. 

The film version starring Tom Hanks as Capt. Kidd is available on digital movie rental sites now (currently at premium pricing of $20, but that'll go down in time if you'd rather wait). The preview looks fantastic (hard not to with Hanks in the lead), but had me in tears. I'll have to be in the right mood to watch, but I definitely will at some point.

Note: I read this book in 2016 at a time when I was taking a break from blogging. I reviewed it for Goodreads, though, and I'm belatedly adding a refreshed review of this absolutely amazing book here.

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