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Pretty Boy Floyd

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  982 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
The time is 1925. The place, St. Louis, Missouri. Charley Floyd, a good-looking, sweet-smiling country boy from Oklahoma, is about to rob his first armored car.
Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Larry McMurtry and his writing partner, Diana Ossana, Pretty Boy Floyd traces the wild career of this legendary American folk hero, a young man so charming that it's hard not to li
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30)
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carl  theaker
I was looking for an easy read to keep me occupied on a plane trip and found a thoroughly entertaining tale in this story of the Depression Era bank robber Charles Arthur Floyd.

While some of his many bank capers are described, this historical novel takes a different perspective, which is describing Pretty Boy’s domestic life. As we often learn with famous, or infamous, characters, the women in his life, Mother, Wife, girlfriends, don’t really hold him in as high esteem as the media does.

Mitch Duckworth
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
From the time we meet him in 1925, legendary folk hero Pretty Boy Floyd is a man so charming you have to like him, even if you’re a bank president. Well, that might be a stretch, but I can predict confidently: readers will like Charley. Readers will smile, and enjoy this novel.

Between these pages, when Charley Floyd smiled, he even made bank tellers handing him money smile and believe it would all be okay. He smiled until somebody pulled a trigger. Charley didn’t like people getting killed and
Written too simplistically, and I didn't get much of a feel for the characters. I was soon bored and it seems like the authors were as well. It only made me want to rewatch the excellent Warren Oates Dillinger movie for the umpteenth time.
P.S. Winn
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The year is 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri. You have probably heard of Charley Floyd, also known as pretty Floyd because he is a good-looking guy from Oklahoma. Charley is about to commit his first robbery. The author captures the time and the story in a great story.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
McMurtry is always a fun read but this one needed tighter editing.
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
"If you'll gather round me, children,
A story I will tell,
About Pretty Boy Floyd, the outlaw,
Oklahoma knew him well…."
~Woody Guthrey~
"The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd"

Every so often, I get a craving for a good old fashioned, shoot 'em up, gangster story. So what could be a better choice than a historical fiction based on the life and times of Charles Arthur (Pretty Boy) Floyd.

The story starts out in St. Louis, Missouri. The year is 1925. Charley Floyd is a young and handsome man; ergo the nickname:
Apr 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
If you’re looking for a tragic-comic account of a poor boy turned outlaw, this is an amusing and satisfactory version. If you’re seeking a more historically accurate account, you’d best look elsewhere.

The book offers McMurtry’s usual blend of humor and quirky characters and a folkloric depiction of the life and times of Pretty Boy Floyd. Unfortunately McMurtry and his partner Diana Ossana wrote it first as a screenplay and it’s conversion to a novel resulted in several flaws—the biggest being a
Brian Turner
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I finished up Pretty Boy Floyd by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana last night. Ossana and McMurtry are really good at compiling this mix of fact, hearsay and myth into a real page turner.

My dad’s people are from Missouri and my wife’s family were from Oklahoma so I’d heard all the fond stories of Charley Floyd, just a poor Okie kid who never made it West and ended up robbing banks and killing cops. My Grandpa held him in higher esteem than FDR.

The story traces the lives of Pretty Boy, his famil
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was a gift from a friend and had been on my shelf for a long while. I'm delighted that I took it down. It tells the fictional, imagined story of Charles Arthur "Charley" Floyd from a small-town Oklahoma farm. As Charley sought a better life than hard-scrabble depression-era farming, he became a bandit and bank robber. His good looks, good manners, and good-heart left favorable impressions with everyone he encountered, even as he fabricated facts that always put a positive spin into wha ...more
Michael Alan Grapin
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd was one of those larger than life criminals that became a folk hero during the depression. His story is part history and part lore. Larry McMurtry's handling of the tale has an epic movie quality about it which makes sense since he was once hired to create a screen play for the character. This is a rollicking good time full of dialectic dialog well crafted characterizations and relationships. It's an interesting,albeit fictional, insight into the psyche of Floyd and th ...more
Keith Landry
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of McMurtry but this is the first non-western of his that I have read. He is a master at writing dialog and capturing the spirits of his characters. I was, however, nagged by the feeling I had already read this book. I checked my library and found The Hot Kid written by Elmore Leonard (another favorite author). Paging through it I saw several similarities particularly in the style of capturing dialog from that period of time. Floyd is also a character in The Hot Kid although not t ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Strangers influenced the first bad choices made by Charles Arthur Floyd--nicknamed "Pretty Boy" by one of the very people who influenced his bad choices--, then he seems to have found what I call "fools' friends" and could not give up the situations he created for himself, not even for the sake of his family. He led a sad, lonely life that had a sad, tragic ending. Public admiration for Pretty Boy's lifestyle most likely reflects society's feelings toward banks during those depression days.
Travis Kendall
A great romp through 1920's/30's middle America. McMurtry does nothing to glamorize the life of Floyd and his friends or their lives. These are desperate people, killers and thieves despite what they say. There is also a decided lack of glamor in their lives. More flophouses than penthouses. This book also makes it difficult to feel sorry for Floyd, even when you're cheering for him to get away. A really well researched and fun read. If you like stories of cops and robbers this is for you.
Ken Barnes
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would read anything by Larry McMurtry, but I've always had an interest in the Depression-era gangsters. It was a treat for McMurtry to apply his craft to a figure that less has been written about than Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde. For McMurtry fans, I don't think he ever mentioned Thalia in this book, which I've seen in every book of his I've read. After you read Lonesome Dove and Last Picture Show, this one's definitely worth a read.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was just cool. I made me want to be a gangster during that time period. It's written okay, the characters are okay, but It's the true character of Floyd that makes this book. If it would have been a fictional character, no way it would've stood out. If you like the Bonnie and Clyde's and John Dillinger you should read this. Pretty Boy Floyd probably one of the lesser know big name gangsters along with Machine Gun Kelly. He's got a cool name tho ;)
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fictionalized account of Pretty Boy Floyd in the 1920's. Written by the Oscar winning team that eventually wrote Brokeback Mountain for the movies and separately The Last Picture Show and Lonesome Dove. You know what's going to happen at the end but is still a nail biter. Full of colorful depression-era characters. Details Floyd's rise to NUMBER ONE on the most wanted list and Hoovers obsession to get him no mater what the cost! I liked it!
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book exceeded my expectations. It was a very enjoyable historically accurate but fictional narrative of the life, exploits, and times of the outlaw Charles A Floyd. The character development of Floyd, his family, friends, acquaintenances, and adversaries was excellent. The book never seemed to drag, but still had a leisurely pace to it. I highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a good book to pass the time.
Babs M
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Almost always enjoy anything Larry McMurtry writes. Plus being from the part of Ohio that Pretty Boy died in makes this more fun for me. I have seen Pretty Boy Floyd's death mask. I know he takes liberties with his writitings, this is fiction based on fact like many of his novels but that makes them all the more enjoyable.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it
It was an interesting look into the life of Pretty Boy Floyd. While based on historical events (many were verified), it adds a different perspective into the life and events of the time. Even though some of the crimes were brutal, at times, I found myself almost feeling sorry for him while learning about another part of history.
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it
It is too bad this isn't a more true account. How true is it?

Something very much like this probably occurred. This book did engross me, and succeeds in conveying how much one likes Charles Arthur Floyd in spite of every single choice being wrong, misguided, immoral, harmful to those he loved. Or could he just not stop loving them?
May 05, 2010 rated it liked it
A comic novel with underlying tragedy. How heroes are born even though they didn't want a part of it. Ready for film novel.1930's dialogue uses the N-word way too often. Interesting how ordinary folks were wanting to help Pretty Boy get away from there Feds. Some times, he was spoken as a kind of Robin Hood.
Roger L.
Aug 31, 2009 rated it did not like it
If you start reading this book looking for an actual history you will be sorely disappointed. Apart from the long, boring sequences of emotional dialogue of bleeding heart women, I question whether there is a drop of historical accuracy in the whole thing, except that there was an outlaw of that name during the depression.
Apr 24, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was really quick-paced and interesting at first and I read about 2/3rds of it in a day. But then, something happened...maybe having two authors finally wore on the narrative. It took me another weeksjust to finish the last third of the book. 3 1/2 stars for the first 2/3rds and 2 stars for the last third. As for the Epilogue? 1/2 star.
Jon P.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, clearly not one of Mcmurtry's best, but I think he wrote it more for fun and that's how I take it. Floyd isn't my favorite bank robber, but I like him real fine. This story fills in (read: makes up) some of the unknown stuff that happened between the headlines. Probably will read again next decade.
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Something a little shy of a 4 really, but definitely better than a 3. The experience of reading it was a bit like watching Bonnie and Clyde, that same mix of comedy, crime, inevitable tragedy/demise, and all happening in a similar time and place. I like McMurtry and Ossana's unpretentious character and plot driven style.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this story and really liked Charley Floyd, even though he was a bank robber. I'm a huge fan of Larry McMurtry and could tell his influence in the writing. It was a true life tale with some fabrication, but it was an enjoyable read. If you like historical fiction, then you'd probably enjoy this book.
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this story of Pretty Boy Floyd. I didn't know anything about him and wanted to see how much was truth. I was delighted to see that it was based on facts and some circumstances filled in. It's a quick easy read and makes you feel sorry for Floyd. I love McMurtry as a writer but I didn't feel this was one of his best writing wise but the story itself keeps you turning the pages.
Jun 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Many small towns and comuniteis in my area have a lot of history. When I see an old shell of a building on Main Street USA I don't always think of what was going on when it was new. Some of the small towns that have dried up used to be big towns at one time. This book reminded me that there was a lot going on in rural America a hundred years ago.
Oct 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This felt like a cross between "Blow" and "The Executioner's Song". Straightforward story telling approach but gives a little more view into what the characters are thinking directly. Too bad it is difficult to know how much is fact and how much is fiction.
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
This book reads like a novel to me and not a biography. I wasn't able to get caught up in the times or the people portrait in the story. If I didn't know these were real people I wouldn't have guess it from this book. That said, the story was ok.
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Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays.

Among many other accolades he was the co-winner of an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006.

Larry McMurty was born in Wichita Falls Texas in 1936. His first published book Horseman, Pass By was
More about Larry McMurtry...

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“Part of him wanted to remember; part of him needed to forget.” 1 likes
“Ever since he was a little boy, he had always tried to make things sound better than they actually were.” 1 likes
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