Bonnie and Clyde were responsible for multiple murders and countless robberies. But they did not act alone. In 1933, during their infamous run from the law, Bonnie and Clyde were joined by Clyde's brother, Buck Barrow, and his wife, Blanche. Of these four accomplices, only one, Blanche Caldwell Barrow, lived beyond early adulthood and only Blanche left behind a written account of their escapades. Edited by outlaw expert John Neal Phillips, Blanche's previously unknown memoir is here available for the first time.
Blanche wrote her memoir between 1933 and 1939, while serving time at the Missouri State Penitentiary. Following her death, Blanche's good friend and the executor of her will, Esther L. Weiser, found the memoir wrapped in a large unused Christmas card. Later she entrusted it to Phillips, who had interviewed Blanche several times before her death. Drawing from these interviews, and from extensive research into Depression-era outlaw history, Phillips supplements the memoir with helpful notes and with biographical information about Blanche and her accomplices.
©2004 Esther L. Weiser and John Neal Phillips (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks
“Highly recommended.” (Library Journal)
I was surprised to learn that Blanche Barrow didn't spend the remainder of her life in prison. This read fills in the gaps that the Hollywood film "Bonnie and Clyde" left out, and it rounded out the characters, especially that of Blanche who, in my opinion, was portrayed as one-dimensional and silly by the Hollywood movie. The fact that Blanche was consulted for the film paints her in a different light. As I listened, I felt tension and frustration that Blanche found herself unable to leave Buck Barrow, even when she found herself caught in the downward spiral of his involvement in Clyde Barrow's criminal schemes. It is a cautionary tale for women who love bad men.
On the negative side, the author took lengthy breaks from the story to describe newspaper headlines and period history. I often felt as if she should just get on with the story. Then, there is the narrator, who sounded as if she was reading to a class of kindergarten students; she read without much passion, e-nun-ci-a-ting e-ver-y word. I don't know the origin of the narrator, but as someone who has lived in the region where the Barrows lived, her Texas accent didn't sound credible. Once you can get past these two stumbling blocks, the story is very good
I would recommend the book but only if they bought a hard copy to read themselves. The narration on this one is possibly the worst I've heard. The narrator pronounces words incorrectly, pauses in a sentence where there should be no pause, puts emphasis on the wrong words and makes following the story hard because of the way she reads the story. Don't waste your money on this one in audio, go buy the book and read it yourself.
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