Guys, I'm so stinkin' happy to be writing a post about this particular book. Let me just start with this:
It's the origin story of Bonnie—you remember her, right? She's the pepper to Clyde's salt. They go together like icing and cake. I've always been fascinated by these two rogues and their many escapades.
Jenni (full confession here: she is a sweet friend of mine) does a MARVELOUS job telling Bonnie's story. I'm rooting for her, despite knowing that technically speaking, they are the "villains" in American history. Seeing Bonnie's very humble beginnings (her parents literally have a hard time making ends meet), helps me understand her and the subsequent choices she makes.
Despite being fiction, there are so many rich details threaded throughout the story. I never knew Bonnie was married before she met Clyde, never knew that she was really a wholesome girl who got swept up into another life the day she met a guitar playing farmer. Speaking of music, there's lots of that in here. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted by it. Mr. Barrow was extremely talented! That and he had a panache for stealing cars. ;)
There is so much to love about this book, and even though I know where Bonnie and Clyde end up—and it's going to rip my heart out reading it, let me tell you—I know they'll be together.
I absolutely recommend this book, for the sumptuous era, it's lovely voice (Jenni really excels here), and if you're interested in the origin story of one of the most infamous couples in American history—LOOK NO FURTHER!
Here's the official description of the book:
The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's.
Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn't know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.
She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.
Few details are known about Bonnie's life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.
And, here is my favorite picture of these two crazy lovebirds: