Books--there are never enough; I'm continually adding to my list. I always find time to read them, but taking the time to review them is another story.News of the World by Paulette Jiles. (Thanks, Sam!) I read it on my Kindle, but I ordered a physical copy for my husband.
From a NY Times review: " [Paulette Jiles's] story in “News of the World” is painfully simple. An old man, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, is content to make his living as an itinerant news reader in Texas until he is charged with a much more difficult mission. A white girl, about 10, has been “rescued” from the Kiowa Indians who kidnapped her and killed her immediate family four years earlier. Would he please take her down to the San Antonio region and return her to her closest living relatives, an aunt and uncle?" (Source)
The characters enter your world with a surprising intensity. Captain Kidd and Johanna make the dangerous trek through a largely untamed Texas, not long after the Civil War. Initially, Johanna wants nothing more to return to the Kiowas, but gradually, she and Kidd form a bond.
It is my favorite book of fiction this year.
As I read, I thought of many things, including the problems experienced by children who were kidnapped by various Indian tribes and were unable to re-assimilate into their families after being rescued. I also thought about boarding schools run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that forced the children to cut their hair and wear uniforms of the white culture, that forbade the use of their own language, and more. Families were coerced into sending their children from 1860-1978.
Articles in medical and psychiatric science journals have repeatedly discussed how childhood trauma "influences both mental and physical health in adulthood and across generations" (Source), and I thought about the children put in cages at the border and wondered about the ramifications of those actions, not only on the children themselves, but on their children.
I finished this last week, and it is still on my mind. I've finished several other books since, and although several were good--they aren't in the same category.