Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: rrnewneighbors.org [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]

Literary Events

Literary Events

What's New?__________


July 6th, author Neil Gaiman will speak at the Long Center. $32.
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The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series events will be listed here.
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Round Rock Public Library Book Group meets monthly at 7:00-8:30 PM. Check the library website for more information, or ask Carla.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bonnie and Clyde Had Fancy Clothes and Short Lives

It was "...death for Bonnie and Clyde," and we were as fascinated with it as the general public was when it all happened! Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, by Jeff Guinn, was a well-written, well-researched detailed accounting of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker; or is it better said Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow? Everyone at our meeting had read the book, and everyone liked it! This is highly unusual for our group! I can think of at least 17 of us who were there. Why was this violent true story so well received by our group? Please don't tell me it was because it's Texas history...Rather, let's recap some of what was said at the meeting!

Some of the appeal was the Texas, and therefore familiar, aspect. We had a report from Joyce's 84-year-old aunt, who said that West Dallas was and still is an unpleasant place. She wasn't in Texas during the years when Bonnie and Clyde were rampaging, but soon after, she saw the "death car" on exhibit. Frank asked us who would pay to see the death car now, and the response was muted. But...if it were easily available, I'll bet we could get a field trip going! Linda's grandfather had a friend who ran a store at that time. Bonnie and Clyde were customers there when they were passing through. This storekeeper said they were always polite and that Bonnie was hardened-looking rather than cute. It was interesting to imagine Bonnie and Clyde driving thousands of miles in and near Texas in those days, without any Interstate highways, without any fast food and bagged snacks to carry in the car, in cars that needed gas often and new tires perhaps even more often!

Someone said Clyde was smart and would have been rerouted by a social program today; but someone else countered that idea with the argument that many people in West Dallas lived in poverty without turning to crime. Someone suggested that Bonnie and Clyde were stupid to visit their families as often as they did; and the police were stupid to not catch them sooner, since everyone knew they visited their families often. Pat noted that many small-town police forces consisted of volunteers with other jobs rather than full-time paid forces.

Patty said she couldn't help but feel some sympathy for Bonnie and Clyde, mostly because of their devotion to their families, and because they didn't seem to mean or want to be killers and never really warmed up to the task. Clyde did seem to be unfairly targeted by the police and couldn't have been expected to hold a job, the way the police were so often making him take time off for investigations. Mary wondered where the photos of the Barrows and Parkers came from, when photos were an expensive luxury in those days.

Bringing the conversation to the present, Rutger mentioned the influence of the gap between the rich and the poor on incidence of crime. Phyllis said that law enforcement now has instant and thorough communication everywhere, thus keeping everyone informed of current status. Dennis mentioned that even today, a crime against a law enforcement officer is less likely to go unresolved or unpunished than many other crimes. Emily mentioned gun control as involving a paradox between government keeping us safe or allowing us our freedom.

We also talked about the popular movie and the media that constantly surrounded Bonnie and Clyde's real escapades and the crimes they were blamed for but didn't commit. Bonnie and Clyde were folk heroes, for whatever reason, and they were glamorized by the news media at the time (it sold papers) and by the Hollywood movie in the 1960s. But they didn't really seem to have much fun.

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