Title: Becoming Bonnie
Author: Jenni L. Walsh
Publisher: Forge Books
Publish Date: May 9, 2017
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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."
My Two Cents:
"Becoming Bonnie" is the story of Bonnelyn Parker, who would become one half of the famous crime duo Bonnie and Clyde. This book explores how Bonnie went from a sweet, innocent, church going girl who married early and had dreams of being a teacher and having a white picket fence with her childhood love to becoming part the Barrow Gang. At first, I was surprised that the book focuses so much on Bonnie and we really don't get to meet Clyde until we're well into the book. But as it turns out, Bonnie is a pretty interesting character in her own right and well-deserving of the focus.
I really did not know much about Bonnie outside of the whole idea of Bonnie and Clyde. I liked getting to know her as an individual. We see how she just wants to be loved and how she puts the idea of loyalty above almost anything else even before she meets Clyde. I love how Walsh gives a chance to get to know Bonnie before Clyde. I am reading this book just before "Side by Side," which goes into the story that everyone is more familiar with: Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree.
In real life, not much is known about Bonnie before she met Clyde. Walsh brings to life this unknown world where Bonnie has a loving family that is going through a really difficult time. Bonnie wants to make things better for them in any way she can even if it means not following her own heart. I really enjoyed getting to know her and to see her when she first met Clyde. This was such a good introduction to someone who has had a lot of the details of her life lost to history!