Skip to main content

Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn

If the story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow was romanticized in the newspapers and true crime serials of the 1930s, and even the poetry left behind by Bonnie, Jeff Guinn's Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde goes a long way to deromanticizing their lives, apart and together, and time on the run.

Guinn paints a harsh picture of the poverty in their West Dallas and provides an almost farcical collection of facts about the crime spree. One of my favorite lines from the movie Thelma & Louise seems fitting here--"Brains will only get you so far, and luck always runs out." And I can't say that Clyde seemed to have much of either brains or luck.

Mostly stealing fast cars and stealing money from stores, when Clyde finally robbed an actual bank, he chose one that had just failed. There was one clerk, and no money in the bank. That pretty much epitomizes almost every decision made during the entire "crime spree" as reported by Guinn. There wasn't ever much money made, and most of their time was spent driving around, trying to avoid death. I say death because Clyde vowed to never go to prison again after his hard experience at Eastham prison farm.

Although I almost felt sorry for Clyde and Bonnie, especially noting their zero chance for leaving the poverty of Depression-era West Dallas in any honest fashion, they certainly killed a lot of people for little reason--a few dollars or, in the case of one young man who attempted to prevent them from stealing his car, which they left behind, absolutely nothing. Or, in a quote I love attributed to John Dillinger, they were "a couple of kids stealing grocery money." How sad and how true.

I really wish I could read the unpublished works by Cumie, Clyde's mother, and Marie, Clyde's sister, that Guinn refers to regularly. I would like to know more about what happened to the Barrow and Parker families beyond the brief lives of Clyde and Bonnie.

My overall personal rating of Go Down Together is a B+.


Popular posts from this blog

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

The May selection for my work book club is Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2002). The novel follows various individuals in one neighborhood on a particular day, an ordinary day that ends with a terrible tragedy.

Here's the short set of questions I e-mailed to book club members yesterday, along with my own responses.

Did you have a favorite character, or one that spoke to you the most? Who and why?
The father with the burned hands is the one who stayed with me the most after reading the book.

Did you notice that the day on which the events unfold is actually the same day that Diana, Princess of Wales, died? Does knowing that make any difference in how you see the story? I wouldn't have made the connection if I hadn't just watched some of the coverage of the Royal Wedding. To quote the author, he chose this particular day because his novel is about how ". . .everyday miracles of life and death go unwitnessed in favor of celebrity and sensati…

Current Little Pleasures

Girls' weekend in Omaha with Maya and her friend.

Happy Buddha:  Sweet Orange and Cedar Shower Foam from RITUALS

Time for iced or blended peppermint mochas.

Shopping for little gifts for Maya's Japanese pen pal.  They were matched through their schools, and we're hoping she can stay with us for a few days this summer.

The flock of wild turkeys, foxes, and other assorted wildlife entertaining us this fall.

Thanksgiving plans to visit my sister.

Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas is back!

Current Little Pleasures

Christmas Keepsake Week, July 14-23, filled with Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.

Sending Christmas (in July) cards with a Peace greeting to some of my favorite people.  Why not??

Scott Tube Free Toilet Paper--nothing to recycle.

Haagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream--always!

Baby Driver movie.

Seeing photos from my sisters and niece on Facebook during their Italy trip.  I can't imagine they will want to come back home!

What are your current little pleasures?