Bonnie Parker: Promised the American Dream but Given the Great Depression

I’m very excited for my inaugural post, and for the opportunity to introduce myself and my debut novel, BECOMING BONNIE.

So, Hi, I’m Jenni, kid wrangler by day and author by night. And, as you may’ve guessed from the title, my novel is about Bonnie Parker, as in half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo. At some point during my adolescent years, I saw the Bonnie and Clyde film from the 60s. The violence didn’t stick with me, but, all these years later, their loyalty (and love and passion) toward one another did. I wondered, who was Bonnie Parker besides an outlaw? And I thought, I need to write that book.

Bonnie QuoteInterestingly enough, there aren’t many novels about Bonnie; there’s mostly nonfictional accounts of her escapades with the one-and-only Clyde Champion Barrow. But on the young adult and adult shelves, I was coming up empty. That got my fingers tapping against the keyboard to learn more about what made Bonnie tick. What piqued my interest further is how there isn’t much known about her life prior to meeting Clyde.

She was theatrical, a straight-A student, a God-fearing lass. She wrote poems (like the one featured here). Bonnie married her long-time boyfriend. She was the middle child. She grew up in a poverty-ridden town in Texas. She wanted more for herself.

Bonnie wanted to be in the limelight.

So I put her there, front and center on a speakeasy stage during the Roaring Twenties, crooning into a microphone, singing Louis Armstrong. But of course, that lifestyle can turn a doll into a moll, especially when a) the Great Depression hits, jeopardizing her American Dream, and b) she starts rubbing elbows with devil-may-care fellas like Clyde Barrow.

Ultimately, BECOMING BONNIE tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s — and I’m so excited for readers to get the chance to see Bonnie through my eyes.

A huge thank you to the Debs who came before me, especially Louise, Jennifer, Heather, Aya, and Abby, and I’m so grateful to be continuing the Deb Ball tradition with Crystal, Amy, Tiffany, and Lynn.

Purchase BECOMING BONNIE <3

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Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years ​chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia's countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni's passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet. BECOMING BONNIE (Tor Forge/Macmillan, 5/9/2017) is her debut novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. SIDE BY SIDE, telling Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree story, will be released in the summer of 2018. Please learn more about Jenni's books at jennilwalsh.com.

This article has 12 Comments

  1. I am a huge fan of Jenni L Walsh and her writing and cannot wait for the day that I get to hold Becoming Bonnie in my hands! Great blog post about how she got the idea and why she decided to write Bonnie’s story.

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