Sara's Reviews > Becoming Bonnie

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh
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Closer to 4.5 out of 5 stars... but it's by far my favorite non-speculative read so far in 2017, and it'll likely end up one of my favorites of the year overall.

In BECOMING BONNIE, Jenni L. Walsh envisions what life may have been like for Bonnie Parker - and what Bonnie herself may have been like - before she became one-half of the infamous duo Bonnie & Clyde. It's difficult to picture how Bonnie may have made the transition from wholesome, straight-A student with a pocketful of dreams, to the young woman who fell in love with a criminal and then turned to crime herself. But when you read BECOMING BONNIE and witness the main character's tragedies and triumphs, choices and sacrifices, it actually makes sense. I love how Bonnie gradually becomes bolder and braver, yet never loses her compassion or sense of self-respect.

What else made BECOMING BONNIE such a compulsive read? The setting, for one. Walsh uses late-1920s Dallas as her backdrop, integrating aptly timed influences from the tail end of the Prohibition Era and the Wall Street Crash of 1929 into Bonnie's story. The seduction of speakeasies and jazz music, the lure of excess, and the reality of families barely making ends meet - all of it turns Bonnie's world upside-down as she struggles to figure out how she'll survive and achieve her ambitions. Walsh's narrative voice for Bonnie is incredibly realistic, too. Written in first-person, with era-appropriate and regional slang / dialect sprinkled throughout, it feels as though a Texas-born girl is narrating her life story as it's happening, twang and all.

In short, BECOMING BONNIE is irresistible. It's spirited. It's immersive, just like good historical fiction should be. It doesn't have that earth-stirring quality like other books I recently read that would earn it a full 5 stars. But I'm willing to bet my bottom dollar that anyone who loves stories about gangsters, the many faces of the American Dream, and good girls on the verge of becoming bad (or, at least, criminals) will want to savor every moment of this book.
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Reading Progress

October 20, 2016 – Shelved
October 20, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
August 20, 2017 – Started Reading
August 20, 2017 –
page 29
August 22, 2017 –
page 202
63.13% "What's better than reading most of a book during a long day of traveling? Reading most of an UNPUTDOWNABLE book during a long day of traveling. :)"
August 23, 2017 –
page 262
August 24, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-favorites
August 24, 2017 – Shelved as: female-protagonists
August 24, 2017 – Shelved as: great-friendships
August 24, 2017 – Shelved as: great-sibling-relationships
August 24, 2017 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
August 24, 2017 – Shelved as: prohibition-and-roaring-20s
August 24, 2017 – Shelved as: well-researched
August 24, 2017 – Finished Reading

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