Texas: 1931. It’s the height of the Great Depression, and Bonnie is miles from Clyde. He’s locked up, and she’s left waiting, their dreams of a life together dwindling every day. When Clyde returns from prison damaged and distant, unable to keep a job, and dogged by the cops, Bonnie knows the law will soon come for him. But there’s only one road forward for her. If the world won't give them their American Dream, they'll just have to take it.
Side by Side A Novel of Bonnie and ClydeFeatured
Side by Side
Bonnie Parker is waiting for Clyde to be released from prison. It's 1931 and she wants him to come home. After he's released, they start their infamous exploits that involve robbing banks in order to have enough money to buy a farm where they won't be bothered. Told through the point of view of Bonnie, this story breaks down the Hollywood legend of these two that would live on through history.
What worked: I really liked reading about this crime couple of the 1930s. I felt that Bonnie's point of view shows readers her struggles and challenges of wanting to be with Clyde so much that she got caught up in his life of crime. Readers see her worrying about Clyde, worrying about her own family, and her best friend Blanche, who joins them at the beginning. I also like how this novel humanizes the couple. We see that being on the road wasn't all glamour. That their acts were of desperation living during the Depression and living in poverty. We also get glimpses into the apparent abuse Clyde suffered in prison and how it drove him to make some of the choices he made. The author though doesn't make excuses for this couple's deadly choices, but we do give hints of why they might have acted the way they did.
What's great about this novel is how readers will feel as if they're right there with this couple on their destructive crime spree that ends tragically. The chemistry between these two is very strong. So is the chemistry between her and her best friend. Though she likes that Blanche is riding with them, she also feels guilty that she is part of it. There's more than a few incidences that show Bonnie being compassionate toward others and also the conflict she feels between knowing what they're doing is wrong, but refusing to be without Clyde. Kuddos to the author for peeling back Bonnie's hardcore moll persona that Hollywood continues to play out in movies.
Fast-paced romp with the infamous crime couple Bonnie and Clyde that shows Bonnie Parker's human side while she rides with Clyde towards a tragic end. Well researched, this is a must read for those who love historical novels from this time period.