Becoming Bonnie: A Novel
Becoming Bonnie is all about Bonnie Parker’s life leading up to her meeting Clyde Barrow and becoming part of one of the most infamous crime duos in history. In Jenni Walsh’s account, a mix of fact and fiction, Bonnie is a good Christian girl all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, Roy Thornton. Her best friend, Blanche, and her family’s desperation for money, however, lead her to find work at a speakeasy. She is overcome by guilt at first, then comes to love the freedom she feels in that place. She gets to sing on stage and mix drinks, all while trying to live a normal life during the day going to school and working on her and Roy’s first home. It won’t be too long before the stock market crashes and career criminal Clyde Barrow will come along and sweep her off her feet. Soon after that will follow the crime spree of the century.
Who doesn’t love the story of Bonnie and Clyde? The way it’s romanticized, you can’t help but long for these lovers to work out. We tend to gloss over the fact that they killed people and focus on the fact that they were poor young people in love who had to take what they wanted. Their story tends to spark the rebelliousness in us all, even when we know it leads to their deaths.
Jenni Walsh did a great job of bringing Bonnie Parker to life. She rounded out a character who there isn’t a ton of information on prior to her criminal activities. She blended a lot of fact into her fictional account, even specifying what was true in the author’s note at the end. What I loved most about the way she wrote is how she showed that even an upstanding Christian girl can fall when temptation is there. The desire to have comfort and security can be a powerful motivator. Ms. Walsh also did an amazing job bringing the late 20s to life. If you love Bonnie and Clyde, you will love this book.
Jenni L. Walsh