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Becoming Bonnie

(Bonnie #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  961 ratings  ·  204 reviews
From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh, Becoming Bonnie is the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo!

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 overcom
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Forge Books
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Debbie It is somewhat accurate. in the epilogue she explains what things were true and what isn't. Quite a bit of speculation…moreIt is somewhat accurate. in the epilogue she explains what things were true and what isn't. Quite a bit of speculation(less)

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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
3.5 stars

After reading a fictional telling of Lizzie Borden I pick up this book next. Another couple of people in history that I am completely fascinated with: Bonnie and Clyde.
I may have a weird fixation with the baddies of history. Stop judging me.

This started at a young age for me..once I saw this.

This story is mostly all Bonnie's.
Not much is known of her early life so this author takes some liberties and fills in for us Bonnie and Clyde junkies what might have happened. AND she makes i
Diane S ☔
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, notorious outlaws, subjects of films and documentaries chronicling their come sprees, their death resulting from a shootout with the cops, hard not have not heard of them. Saw the movie and in fact as I was reading this is kept picturing Bonnie as Faye Dunaway. This book though started earlier, when a sixteen years old Bonnie is a high school student, and avid churchgoers, set to marry her boyfriend Roy and very close to her family. So how does this wholesome ...more
Crystal King
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The lives of Bonnie and Clyde are much romanticized nearly a hundred years later. They were hooligans in love, partners in crime that stuck it to the man and who went out in a blaze of glory. Or was that really the story?

In Becoming Bonnie we see the beginning of the tale. We see the world as Bonnie knows it, of the various struggles of her family, of her marriage to a boy named Roy, how she met the first members of Barrow gang and most importantly, how she met Clyde. It's a romance, a coming of
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I’ve always been fascinated with mobsters, gangsters and outlaws (odd, I know) - so when I first came across this book, although fiction, I knew I wanted to read it. This was a pretty good account of the lives of Bonnelyn “Bonnie” Parker and Clyde Barrow. The story starts out early on in Bonnie’s life - before she met Clyde. The author does point out that a lot of the characters and events in the story are factual, but there are some creative fictional aspects thrown in as well. It almost reads ...more
Taylor Knight
I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

When I started this book, I was deep in a reading slump and I was having a really hard time finishing books and even finding the incentive to read. Becoming Bonnie got me out of my slump and I never wanted to put it down.
I've always liked the story of Bonnie and Clyde so this book was right up my alley. I had pretty high hopes when I started this book and I was pleasantly surprised how Becoming Bonnie not only liv
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to TL by: Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
3.5 Stars - I need that sequel! Anyone want to be my book fairy? ;-)

Took a bit to get going for me but something kept me going and not giving up on it. Sometime after Bonnelynn/Bonnie introduced Roy to her speakeasy life it hooked me deeper and didn't let go (not a spoiler, in the blurb).

There's just this "allure" of Bonnie and Clyde that makes you curious and wanting to know more. That whole era really. Sometimes I'm amazed these guys (all of them in general) were caught at all the way things w
Lee Kelly
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blurbed
This book knocked me over.

Official comments: "A dazzling and compulsively-readable adventure of self-discovery, with a voice both singular and irresistible. I dare you not to fall in love with Bonnie, and her intoxicating, wholly immersive world."

This is historical fiction at its finest: rich, immersive, and also accessible. It's the perfect example of crossover fiction -- fast-paced like the best of YA, but still patient and nuanced like adult novels, and painted with luxurious details. Bonnie'
Amy Bruno
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a little late to the Becoming Bonnie love fest. After seeing my social media feeds filled with rave reviews I knew I had to pick it up. And I am so happy that I did!

I've long been fascinated with Bonnie and Clyde. Two young people in love and united against the world and societal norms. I always wondered what made them turn to a life of crime and thankfully, Becoming Bonnie came along and author Jenni L. Walsh gifts us with their back story.

I can't say enough good things about Becoming Bon
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jenni Walsh is a fellow Debutante Ball author, and I'm so thankful I had a chance to read an advanced version of Becoming Bonnie.

Walsh has beautifully crafted a complex world of 1920's Dallas, a place where people manage to brew "giggle juice" despite prohibition and where no one could have anticipated the looming stock market collapse and consequent Great Depression.

Walsh skillfully created a main character who is nuanced, complex, and surprising. Bonnelyn Parker is not who I expected. From t
Amy Poeppel
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As someone born and raised in Dallas, TX, I got a particular kick out of reading BECOMING BONNIE. Jenni Walsh, fellow Deb Ball writer, has written a fast-paced, exciting, and touching story of Bonnie before Clyde, showing the reader who she was as a girl and explaining how she transformed into the infamous gun slinging, bank robbing woman we all know. Such a fun 1920s read, complete with speakeasies, market crashes, and dance marathons, and filled with unusual characters from Bonnie's wild frien ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"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, Bonni ...more
Wow, what a disappointment. I'm not saying that I thought this book would be the next Great American Novel or something, but I thought it would at least be entertaining. Nope.
My problems with this book:
•If I had to sum up this book in one word it would be "boring." It's pitched as the origin of Bonnie and Clyde, not the actual story, so obviously I didn't think they'd be running around holding up banks quite yet. Still. Pretty much nothing interesting happens in this book. I didn't pick up this
Carolyn Menke
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A stunning debut that follows straight-laced Bonnelyn Parker as she becomes Bonnie—of Bonnie & Clyde. This rare glimpse into the life of a woman who is determined to prevail, at all costs, is at once endearing and heart-wrenching—and in the next breath, packs all of the punch of a devil-may-care outlaw in the making. You’ll be hooked with every hoot, holler, and strum of the guitar—and with the sheer desperation of a girl on the edge.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everyone's heard of Bonnie and Clyde, but how many of us know anything about them other than that they were notorious criminals? BECOMING BONNIE gives us a glimpse into the life of Bonnie Parker before she became one half of that infamous duo. Pulling both from historical research and her own imagination, author Jenni L. Walsh introduces us to Bonnelyn, a poor Texan teenager with big dreams, and takes us through her family struggles, her relationship troubles, and her introduction to the glitzy ...more
Jenny Q
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
"We're born whole, then life takes a little more from ya each day, each experience, each loss. It ain't something you can get back."

A super-compelling voice made this hard to put down and brought me out of my reading slump. Bonnie is a character I loved to root for, even knowing what she's eventually going to do. I did think some character evolutions occurred in the blink of an eye and probably would have been more plausible with more lead-up time, some of Bonnie's actions and dialogue seemed a
Aug 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Since my teenage years, I've been fascinated with gangsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger, even going so far as to write my own stories around them way back in the day. So when I spotted this book on a list, I thought it'd be right up my alley.

Except that alley wandered into a bad neighborhood full of tough guy cliches and boozy floozies and ghastly first person narration and incredibly inaccurate historical characters.

I beat it out of there before they could fit me with cement overshoes.

I g
Kate Brandes
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Becoming Bonnie is the story of Bonnelyn Parker during the roaring 1920s in Dallas, before her ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ infamy. I love both the setting and premise of this book so much. With a strong voice, Walsh gives the reader a vivid sense of the time and place and portrays Bonnie as she’s rarely thought of otherwise: a girl with dreams of a better life. This is a flirtatious novel evident between the relationships of its colorful characters, but also in its interplay with the reader, as Bonnie pu ...more
Tiffany Jackson
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've always been in love with the Bonnie and Clyde story so this was right up my alleyway (pun intended)! My fellow Deb Jenni Walsh chocked her adventurous debut full of fun facts and realism, detailing how Bonnie became Bonnie. Anyone in LOVE with the 1920's is gonna LOVE this novel! Perfect bookclub meetup to have at a speakeasy. ...more
Heather C
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book had me right from the description (and the cover too). I’ve always been interested in Bonnie and Clyde and there have been a few television shows about the duo recently, but they never really explored the backstory, just focusing on the flashy bank robbing crime spree. Bonnie is such a fascinating character and it is a fascinating time in history too (which I hadn’t really thought about combined with the characters). I’m pleased to say that Walsh met my every expectation with her debut ...more
Hey, I can finally post the review!

This novel about Bonnie Parker, of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde, is so well written I didn't even notice at first that it's written in present tense, which I normally don't like.

The characterization was very well done too, with the best part being the evolution of Bonnie becoming the figure we picture her as (it's certainly an appropriately titled novel). Although this is a novel about how Bonnie met and fell in love with Clyde, I wouldn't call it a romance. I
Jessica White
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My reviews of Becoming Bonnie and Side by Side can be found at A Reader's Diary along with an exclusive author interview with Jenni L. Walsh!

Wow. Yes. Okay.
This book was amazing.
Becoming Bonnie is Jenni L Walsh's debut novel.

Imagine a time where prohibition is in full swing.
Imagine working at a speakeasy to make a little cash.
Imagine being 16 years old and getting married.
Imagine dropping out of high school and letting go of your dreams.
Imagine the crash of the century.
This is what it was like w
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Straying too far from history...

As a lover of historical fiction, I always view a new historical fiction novel as a chance to delve into a usually unknown side of history. Along with seeing the author's view of historical characters, I take reading novels like this as an opportunity to do my own research. Understanding that author's usually choose to, and even have to, take some creative license with the characters using the facts and sources that are available to them, I like to check which asp
Adriana Arrington
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Walsh does an excellent job of reimagining a tale many of us think we know well - the love story of the infamous Bonnie & Clyde duo. Sparkling with era-appropriate details (from a deliciously illegal speakeasy to 1920's downtown Dallas), Becoming Bonnie pulls you into the Roaring Twenties with gusto. Walsh humanizes Bonnelyn and convincingly details her metamorphosis from church girl to outlaw. And while the reader likely knows where Bonnelyn's unfortunate taste in men leads he ...more
Megan Herman
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book!! Becoming Bonnie not only makes you feel like you are part of the Roaring Twenties* with its rich descriptions of what was happening around the Great Depression and during Prohibition, but it also keeps you turning the pages to find out how innocent Bonnelyn Parker could evolve into the infamous part of the Bonnie and Clyde duo! And now I'm eagerly awaiting the release of book 2 to see where this duo ends up :)

*But seriously, this book made me want to grab a fancy d
Lindsay Hess
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I ADORED this book. Bonnie and Clyde have always fascinated me, so I was thrilled when I won an ARC from Jenni Walsh on Twitter. I couldn’t wait to dive into Bonnie’s world before Clyde, and Walsh’s story did not disappoint. Bonnie’s voice sings and soars, more enchanting than any church hymn. Her character is absurdly relatable, and the world inside the pages is lush and dazzling. From young love and illegal speakeasies to family drama and near-death encounters in alleyways, I was hooked from s ...more
Jessica Strawser
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story is so vividly rendered, you feel as if you might jump into the backseat of Blanche's convertible and hitch along for the ride. How *did* a churchgoing, by-the-book young girl ever plausibly become half of America's most legendary lawless couple? Jenni Walsh paints a picture that not only answers this question, but brings the characters to life along the way. A charismatic, fun and engaging debut. (Many thanks to the author and publisher for the opportunity to read and review early.) ...more
Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
Historical fiction imagining the early years of Bonnie Parker's life before she became one half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde partnership. Interesting but by the author's own admission in the note at the end of the novel a lot of this is supposition and she has rearranged some of the facts somewhat. It's fiction, so that didn't overly phase me and despite being a little slow in places you certainly feel the chemistry when Bonnie and Clyde's worlds finally collide.

I expect more action in the
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a well done fictional account of Bonnie before Clyde, then meeting Clyde. Makes you want to read more about the two together.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical for me that I liked the Author’s Note at the back where she outlined which parts of Bonnie’s story were based on real events. I wanted Bonnie to stay in school and keep reading at the library, but ...Clyde walked into the picture.
Sandi Ward
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fast, fun, sexy read! I flew through the pages thanks to the non-stop action. I didn't know much about the Bonnie and Clyde story, and I didn't expect to love Bonnie so much. I enjoyed experiencing her transformation from "Saint Bonnelyn" to an experienced, passionate woman willing to risk it all. ...more
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Historical Fictio...: May 2020 - Becoming Bonnie - NO SPOILERS 13 48 May 26, 2020 05:03PM  
Historical Fictio...: May 2020 - Becoming Bonnie - SPOILERS 3 27 May 15, 2020 06:23AM  
Newbie to Historical Fiction 2 7 Apr 26, 2018 04:16PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please update cover. Thank you! 3 19 Mar 06, 2018 02:36AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 5 Mar 28, 2017 06:12PM  

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Jenni L. Walsh spends her days knee deep in words in Philadelphia’s suburbia. Beyond words, Jenni is a mama (of an soulful seven-year-old, an dinosaur-loving four-year-old, and two needy furbabies), a wife, a Philly and 'Nova sports fan..

But where did it all begin? Jenni spent her early years dabbling in various forms of writing and with her nose in a book. Her writing chops first began to develop

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