Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pretty Boy Floyd” as Want to Read:
Pretty Boy Floyd
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pretty Boy Floyd

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  868 ratings  ·  62 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pretty Boy Floyd, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pretty Boy Floyd

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryLoving Frank by Nancy HoranThe Paris Wife by Paula McLainThe Aviator's Wife by Melanie BenjaminThe Hours by Michael Cunningham
Fictionalized accounts of real people
30th out of 131 books — 53 voters
The Legend of Nightfall by Mickey Zucker ReichertZorro by Isabel AllendeA Paunch Full of Pesos by Norman CraneEndsville by Harlan FinchleyAncient Child by N. Scott Momaday
Outlaw Heroes
17th out of 25 books — 10 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,230)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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.
Mitch Duckworth
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
"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:
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
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
Robert Dunlap
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?
Cj Zawacki
A must read for the 1930 gangster fan. Larry McMurtry has given insight about a man being on the Number One Most Wanted FBI List. Pretty Boy Floyd never adapted that name to his many reported crimes. He was in a constant struggle to find a home life between love and robbery.
Michael Alan Grapin
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
Well written fictional account of Pretty Boy Floyd and his life of crime.
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.
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.
Generally speaking, Larry McMurtry is one of my favorites but this time there was too much of everything--too dialogue, too much detail, too many pages.
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 ;)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Babs M
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.
Jon P.
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.
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.
Roger L.
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.
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.
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.
Well-written interesting view of Charles Floyd. Would get five stars, but I can't get around the fact that McMurtry glorifies a thief and a murderer. Sure, Floyd fell on hard times, but plenty of other people survived that era without having to rob banks and kill police officers
I enjoyed this book, even if it read like a made-for-TV movie.
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.
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.
It was sad to learn how a good criminal goes bad! NOT! crime is crime and even though this man had a good heart and wanted to have his family he made some disturbingly bad choices which put hime in the sights of an FBI rifle.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Success of Suexliegh
  • The Howards of Caxley
  • Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story of Frank Zappa
  • The Shakespeare Miscellany
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin on Franklin D. Roosevelt (Character Above All, #1)
  • The Supreme Commander: The War Years of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-Creator
  • The Saga of the Bloody Benders
  • A Number
  • Serial Killers
  • I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story
  • Cimarron
  • The Man Who Grew Young
  • Briarpatch
  • Destiny and Desire
  • Bill Peet: An Autobiography
  • Aucassin et Nicolette
  • Roadshow: Landscape With Drums
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...
Lonesome Dove Terms of Endearment The Last Picture Show Streets of Laredo Comanche Moon

Share This Book

“Part of him wanted to remember; part of him needed to forget.” 0 likes
“Ever since he was a little boy, he had always tried to make things sound better than they actually were.” 0 likes
More quotes…