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Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend

Many retellings of the Bonnie and Clyde story either sensationalize them or try to make you hate them; this recounting did not. Author Karen Blumenthal went to great lengths in her research for Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend, and she clearly knows and presents the subject very well. Blumenthal states the facts and leaves it at that, without throwing in her opinions or trying to make Bonnie and Clyde into something they weren’t. Just the right amount of details are given so the information is clear but not so gory that it is difficult to read. 

Their story is a fascinating and horrific one. You won’t believe all they went through, the mistakes they made, the lengths to which they went to survive, and how long they were able to do so. Part of the story that was a bit frightening and bizarre was how the public responded to Bonnie and Clyde. Also, hearing about some of the ways Clyde and a few others were treated by law officials and those running the prisons was eye-opening, and one can only hope that that type of behavior has been corrected. While Blumenthal wasn’t trying to persuade you to like or dislike the duo or their actions, one thing you’ll likely be influenced to feel after reading this book is that a life of crime doesn’t pay and your bad choices will catch up to you eventually. This informative and engaging book will appeal to anyone who might typically be reluctant to delve into non-fiction, and anyone who enjoys learning about history, specifically in relation to the Depression time-period.

Review of Advance Reader’s Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Viking Books for Young Readers

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation; 6 mild obscenities; 1 anatomical term.

Violence/Gore:  Many (75) brief second-hand reports including person being dramatic and saying he/she could lie down and die; in referring to the treatment an inmate receives at a particular prison, a character says he would sooner kill his dog than send him to the prison; character accuses another, saying that he would kill his own mother; poems about death and suicide; verbal threats; character at gunpoint; character suggests someone be drugged; character says he should’ve killed another; flogging; character beat by the police; character’s father died; child getting spankings; child fighting others; several car crashes; many incidents of characters getting shot; prisoners getting beaten; torture and murder of inmates; several incidents of murder; prisoners hurting themselves (including cutting off fingers) to avoid hard labor; man is widowed; characters tear up plants; executions; movie about “deadly” outlaws; assassination; Vietnam mentioned; song with violent lyrics; character shot in the eye; characters dying of sickness and old age; characters physically fighting; character hit on the head with gun; car runs into and kills animals; character’s skin burned from acid; character talked about dying; characters ambushed and killed very violently (little detail and very brief).

Sex/Nudity:  A few (9) brief incidents including boys trying to “woo” a girl; character dating others while married; flirting; character suggested that others were homosexual; character accused of being a prostitute; reference to sex appeal in a movie; accusation that girl was pregnant by someone other than her husband; report of man to man sexual assault.

Mature Subject Matter:

Many incidents of theft; references to prejudice and the KKK; reference to marital problems; several characters taken hostage; murder; death; poorly treated inmates; fugitive characters; references to homosexuality, sexual assault and prostitution. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

References to bootleggers; character became a heavy drinker; reference to speakeasies; characters drinking at a dance and picnic; people drinking while watching a shootout; references to drug addicts. 

I love being able to help busy parents who just don’t have the time to pre-screen all their children’s books and know how much I appreciate it as my sons have gotten older. I feel very blessed that my amazing husband makes it possible for me to be a stay-at-home mother to four amazing boys. When not reading or enjoying time with my family, I like baking, especially trying new recipes, and the occasional sewing project.

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