traces the local adventures of Bonnie, Clyde
Reese Vaughn, Victoria Advocate, Nov. 21,
Rumor here in Seadrift says Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow spent the
night in the second-floor corner room at the Lafitte Hotel on the
bay. That could have happened, say, in 1932, when they stole a V-8
Ford in Victoria. Making a run for Houston, they were turned back
by the law at the Colorado River this side of Wharton. ". . .
Clyde, with Bonnie beside him, spun the wheel and downshifted, doing
a 180-degree turn in the middle of the road . . ." They were
headed west to the tune of gunfire when they disappeared. Whether
the Seadrift rumor is true or false, the outlaws make fascinating
reading in "Bonnie and Clyde: A Twenty-First-Century Update"
by James R. Knight with Jonathan Davis from Eakin Press. The narrative
moves with the rhythm of a road song across the whole mid-section
of 1930s America, from Victoria, Texas, to Okabena, Minn., from Carlsbad,
N.M., to the fatal last bars played in Bienville Parish, La. Bonnie
and Clyde styled themselves as heroes of an American ballad, a song
of outlaws, guns, fast cars, and death. As Bonnie wrote in her poem
called "The End of the Line," "Some day they'll go
down together;/They'll bury them side by side;/To few it'll be grief
- /to the law a relief - /But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde."
Carefully researched, with photos, index, endnotes and appendices
"Bonnie and Clyde" gives a balanced picture of the Barrow
clan and its cronies. Both Bonnie and Clyde were close to their mothers,
and their families kept in touch with them until the end. An epilogue
reminds us that when Clyde's mother died in 1942, "two of her
seven children had been killed by police and three of the remaining
five were serving time in various prisons."
When essayist Joan Didion wrote that Americans profess to "prize
social virtues," but really admire the "grandly, brilliantly,
surpassingly asocial," when she described the gap between "what
we say we want and what we do want, between what we officially admire
and secretly desire," she could have been talking about the appeal
of Bonnie and Clyde.
The Brown Bag Book Club reads "Holes" by Louis Sachar for
its noon meeting Dec. 3 at Victoria Public Library. Read this novel
now, and discuss it first with the teens at your Thanksgiving table.
They'll be impressed, because they've read it and loved it.
Reese Vaughn is the book reviewer for the Advocate.
2003, Victoria Advocate