Georgia Lowe: The Bonus (a novel)

January 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Fiction, WritersCast

978-0615371450 – Lucky Dime Press – $18.95 – paperback (ebook editions available)

I confess to be particularly fond of Depression era novels and nonfiction.  The 1920s and 1930s were incredible periods in American history, so much like the present time it is sometimes strange and even eery.  I’m not sure how many readers coming to this novel will know its historical background.  In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, while Hoover was still President, thousands of World War I veterans mobilized to lobby Congress to pass a bill to give them their war service bonuses immediately, to save them from utter poverty and starvation.  2o,000 of them ended up camped in and around Washington, D.C. at the end of their Bonus March.

The political elements of this story sound pretty familiar to anyone who is paying attention to modern political speech.  It’s impossible to not think about the Occupy movement as you read this novel, which of course was conceived and written long before that movement’s inception.

Georgia Lowe’s parents were bonus marchers.  She grew up hearing their stories about the hot summer of 1932 in Washington, D.C., when General MacArthur, himself also a World War I veteran, brutally dispersed the homeless and destitute marchers, including the families of the vets.  Those stories inspired her, but she did not even begin to write fiction until she was much older.  She started the novel more than 10 years ago, using elements of her own family’s stories to create the framework of her novel.

I found The Bonus to be a remarkably well written novel that flows beautifully and naturally.  I’d characterize it as a “naturalistic” novel, and it feels to me as if it could have been written in the 1930s, with a truly authentic sense of the period, the places and the people of that time.  The story focuses on Bonnie and Will, she a struggling actress and he a journalist (and veteran in denial of the pain of his wartime experience), both of them living reasonably well in Hollywood.  They each become connected to the Bonus March in different ways, and end up together in Washington, where their personal lives become entwined with the real events surrounding the marchers and their treatment in the capitol.  You’re not reading a novel to learn the history, but you will learn it and I think you will feel, as I did, that history is remarkably circular.

I think history has birthed a wonderful novelist.  The Lucky Dime website tells us that Georgia is hard at work on two new novels, a prequel to The Bonus entitled An Ordinary Kid and a sequel, The Old Ladies.  These are books I will want to read.  I can’t resist making a plug for another novel, one that was actually written in the 1930s by a now almost forgotten writer, Thomas Boyd, In Time of Peace, a book I think should be read together with The Bonus to create a really powerful understanding of our own period through the lens of another.

Talking with Georgia was alot of fun for me since I liked her book so much.  I hope you will enjoy it as well.  And I am not alone in liking this book alot – The Bonus won first place in the highly competitive Mainstream/Literary Fiction category of the Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

One Response to “Georgia Lowe: The Bonus (a novel)”

Trackbacks

Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] Lowe’s novel, The Bonus. I talked to her about this book and the Bonus March story for Writerscast in […]



Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...