From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language, a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the 1950sBill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century 1951 in the middle of the United States Des Moines, Iowa in the middle of the largest generation in American history the baby boomers As one of the best and funniFrom one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language, a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the 1950sBill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century 1951 in the middle of the United States Des Moines, Iowa in the middle of the largest generation in American history the baby boomers As one of the best and funniest writers alive, he is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero In his case, he ran around his house and neighborhood with an old football jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel about his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing awful evildoers and morons in his head as The Thunderbolt Kid Using this persona as a springboard, Bill Bryson re creates the life of his family and his native city in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality a life at once completely familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy It was, he reminds us, a happy time, when automobiles and televisions and appliances not to mention nuclear weapons grew larger and numerous with each passing year, and DDT, cigarettes, and the fallout from atmospheric testing were considered harmless or even good for you He brings us into the life of his loving but eccentric family, including affectionate portraits of his father, a gifted sportswriter for the local paper and dedicated practitioner of isometric exercises, and OF his mother, whose job as the home furnishing editor for the same paper left her little time for practicing the domestic arts at home The many readers of Bill Bryson s earlier classic, A Walk in the Woods, will greet the reappearance in these pages of the immortal Stephen Katz, seen hijacking literally boxcar loads of beer He is joined in the Bryson gallery of immortal characters by the demonically clever Willoughby brothers, who apply their scientific skills and can do attitude to gleefully destructive ends Warm and laugh out loud funny, and full of his inimitable, pitch perfect observations, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is as wondrous a book as Bill Bryson has ever written It will enchant anyone who has ever been young.
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language a vivid nostalgic and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the sBill Bryson was born in the middle of the Ameri
I m a big fan of Bill Bryson s writing, but this one was both uplifting and saddening at the same time The premise of the book is how Bill learned to see a country be wooed by the siren song of prosperity through the guise of his own internal superhero persona, the Thunderbolt Kid This is an engaging book which takes the reader back to simpler times, with plenty of Bryson s characteristic laugh out loud funny moments to go around The Thunderbolt Kid persona is really a subtitle to the main idea [...]
Bryson played my funnybones like a xylophone The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is about growing up in the 50s It s the sort of coming of age tale that educates along the way God, I love this stuff It very much reminded me of the classic movie A Christmas Story Here on , amongst all you worthy readers, I m ashamed to say I haven t yet read the short stories by Jean Shepherd that the movie is based upon But if they re anything like the movie then they re filled with remembrances of how thi [...]
Welcome to Des Moines, Iowa and the 1950s There are some things you should be afraid of mainly Communism, teenagers, and comic books not approved by the Comics Code Authority But, no need to worry The Thunderbolt Kid aka Bill Bryson will be your trusty tour guide.Ah, the 50s a time when cigarettes made you healthy, your daily dose of amphetamines came in morning cereal, soda was the elixir of life, and prominent doctors defended a boy s right to be dirty In his telltale jocular but informative m [...]
My first Bryson book I will be reading by the author I enjoy the humor I spot checked the validity of the historical details thrown in and found them to be correct This pleased me Pseudonyms are used for the characters, except for his agent Jed Mattes This seems perfectly reasonable So what kind of book is this What is it really about I think the best way to describe it is as a book of snapshots of a kid s life in the fifties in Mid America, rather than either a biography of Bryson or a history [...]
Bill Bryson s travel writing is often hilarious and usually perceptive In many ways this book Bryson s memoir of growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, in the 1950s and 1960s is also travel writing In remembering and sharing his past, Bryson takes his readers to another place and time, both of which he vividly evokes in the narrative I laughed a lot while listening to Bryson read the audiobook version of his memoir At times I laughed so much that there was a risk my bus commute would be embarrassing an [...]
This was the start of a definite return to form after a positive dip in the standard of Bill Bryson s books.What Bryson gives us here is all about growing up in 1950 s America largely autobiographical, although with Bryson s usually interesting and entertaining digressions, it s a strong book and a must for all fans of the world and works of Bill Bryson.
Book ReviewThe Life and Times of the Thunderbolt KidBy Bill BrysonReviewed by Tom CarricoI am not usually one to enjoy a memoir There always seems to be a certain smugness that someone must possess to have the audacity to think that their story is better than, well, mine This memoir, however, is different Bill Bryson s childhood ruminations could belong to anybody who grew up in the 1950s Change Des Moines, Iowa to Arlington, Virginia and this story could even be mine If you are under 40 you pro [...]
Young Bill Bryson always pictured himself as a superhero and in this novel, he is one.The Thunderbolt Kid is a somewhat fictionalized retelling of Bryson s childhood Interspersing key events such as the ever present threat of nuclear war and humorous portrayals of his family with the heroic efforts of the Thunderbolt Kill Fun, charming and a bit precocious.
the bloody head bashing in storyat was the critical turning point in the novel reading for me, personally the moment i realized bill bryson is a comedic wonderchild the moment i was simultaneously overjoyed to have discovered him as a writer and depressed i wasted so much time trying to pretend erma bombeck could truly capture the lasting effects of one s childhood experiences with sex ed the moment i spit an unhealthy mixture of sprite and airline peanuts all over the back of a poor old lady si [...]
Baby Boomers Go to School20 September 2016 I wasn t really sure about this book because while Bryson s story about his trek around the continental United States was very entertaining, and quite informative, the idea about reading about somebody s childhood didn t really appeal to me I ve never been a big fan of autobiographies or biographies in general However I never really thought much of travelogues either before I read The Lost Continent, but then I guess it had a lot to do with Bryson s rat [...]
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This was a hilarious memoir from Bill Bryson I grew up in Iowa too, so it made the book even a little better Highly recommended
I listened to this on CD, read by the author, so of course it was wonderful I ll definitely be seeking it out in print at some point Things go by so fast on audio that you can t go back and re enjoy the really good parts Even if you don t give a rodent s posterior about Iowa, this book is thoroughly enjoyable Bryson is hilarious while at the same time providing a lot of interesting historical things about the 1950s and 60s, both the good and the bad He really tells a great story about his ordina [...]
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As I look back upon all the memoirs I have read, I realize most are horribly tragic in some way People surviving genocide, child abuse, and or rape One lady lost the majority of her face to cancer No wonder I m so depressed Bryson s autobiography, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air Nothing tragic In fact, his childhood is rather idyllic In no way does that imply that it is boring or lacking in any way Bryson, a child of the 50 s, captures all the excitement of growing up in post WW2 era [...]
My son has been raving about Bill Bryson s for some time now, but I was not sure that they would appeal to me After hearing others rave about his memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, I thought this might be a fun audio book I am sorry I waited so long to try Bryson s work.This memoir was terrific It leaves you with a feeling of appreciation for the simple things in life Bill Bryson and I were born a year apart, and as baby boomers growing up in the 50 s and 60 s, I found this memoir [...]
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is a must read for anyone who grew up in the fifties and sixties He captures life in the fifties and early sixties through the lens of a pre teen boy Though he grew up in one of Iowa s larger cities and I grew up in a small New Mexico town, the experiences are very similiar Be ready to laugh out loud, but beware, he uses some language that I would have been given the old Wash your mouth out with soap treatment.
Even though this is a memoir it is difficult not to think about it in the context of other superhero childhood stories Kavalier and Clayand Fortress of Solitude come to mind Among these books the Thunderbold Kid falls flat The image Bryson paints of the fifties is truly magnificent He really captures the excitement of the beginning of the space age It is when he is elaborating on this time that I am captivated, but when he speaks specifically about his own life I get a little bored His life seem [...]
Please note am at the mercy of book exchanges and personal swaps with fellow travelers With that said, I made this trade against my better judgment because I was flirting with a 20 year old, another lapse in judgment, apparently.Anyway, he championed this book as very funny and a very popular author in UK in general This struck me as odd as he is American and we have a thirst as of late for the comedic essay or memoir After reading this book, I realize why he is only popular in the UK and not in [...]
Terrible There is nothing quite as insipid as a childhood autobiography told through the rose coloured glasses of 1950s nostalgia I could not bear to read much further than the first couple of chapters because Bryson s reverence for 1950s America is simultaneously disturbing, sad, and incredibly naive While I m sure some Americans may have enjoyed the post war wave of prosperity, Bryson fails to mention that than half the population women non whites were still mired in the grim social circumsta [...]
The Gallup Poll people apparently have established that 1957 was the happiest year for people living in America I think we can assume that Gallup means middle class white people THUNDERBOLT KID is Bill Bryson s remembrance of his childhood in those happy times.Bryson grew up in Des Moines IA, in the bucolic 1950s His childhood was largely unremarkable, but he is such a talented story teller that reading him recount episodes of childhood is unfailingly entertaining and, often, laugh out loud funn [...]
Very easy and enjoyable to read.Very funny and oddly made me nostalgic for the 1950 seven though I wasn t born then.
Billy Bryson is one of my all time favorite authors, and he doesn t disappoint His memoir was smart and funny and clever, and it s everything you want a memoir to be I think everyone has a story to tell In fact, I m writing a memoir right now and I have lived a fairly normal, suburban life My favorite books, actually ie A Tree Grows in Brooklyn are not my favorite because they tell stories of heroism or defeat, but because the characters are so, so human I love reading about simple lives with si [...]
This is an addendum to my previous review.I had to read this for my book club this month and as it was an enjoyable trip down a nostalgic lane for this Iowa boy, I found something oddly revealing in Bryson s glowing adoration for the 1950s I couldn t help but think of Bryson and other s his age, or those slightly older who were teens in the 50s and witnessed the single largest economic boom in our history Everything was for the taking America was great read into that what you must, because it s [...]
Bill Bryson makes magic in this heartfelt memoir about his childhood in Iowa in the 1950 s His take on the forces which shaped American life mid century, in the middle of the country, is spot on hilarious Exaggerating the ordinary and reveling in the extraordinary, he offers up an unforgettable depiction of the decade that shaped modern America For all its innocence, the cultural landscape was shifting inexorably, driven by the explosion of television and the preponderance of the automobile Brys [...]
Bill Bryson is best suited for travel writing, where his crotchety personality shines through and assures us that the act of traveling is not always as romantic as Kerouac would have you believe in other words, its ok to go through hell before you start to have a good time His memoirs are good because he is funny and disparaging and all that Bryson is supposed to be, but the preachiness regarding the decline of small town middle America is a bit much You can t quite avoid the feeling that he wou [...]
Like every other Bill Bryson book I ve read, this one is utterly delightful, hilarious, endearing and charming I m sure my husband grew tired of hearing me laugh out loud when I would stay up late reading, but I couldn t help it Bryson s stories are too funny to hold in the giggles.There s also a good bit of U.S history in the book to ground the chapters, but Bryson even manages to make the Cuban missile crisis and the threat of nuclear annihilation seem humorous.This book would make a great gif [...]
There are definitely laugh out loud portions of this book, particularly the sections on elementary school and cinema matinees.Bryson captures with feeling the atmosphere of the 50 s There were a lot of kids in the 50 s and early sixties Stores and downtowns were different There is a kind of Peanuts quality to this era There was a security blanket which is now lost.Bryson does extend the truth and it is difficult at times to know how stretched out the exaggerations are kids building bombs in thei [...]
An interesting and quirky snapshot of Des Moines in the 1950s told from the perspective of a young, would be superhero Typically Bryson with some seriously laugh out loud moments the tv clothing range in particular got me This was a quick, fun read.
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