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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir


From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language comes a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir

Overall customer rating: 4.750
by althemadpoet on Dec 3, 2009

I love this guy's writing - have 6 of his books now - I grew up in the 50s traveling all over the world, but still experienced some of the things he did - very good and funny read


Laugh till you cry

by childofthe50s on Mar 26, 2009

I'm listening to this book on cd in my car. Some parts are so funny I find myself laughing until tears run down my face. The story about Grandma and the licorice babies is howlingly funny as is most of the book. Discover Bill Bryson and you'll soon have an entire library of his works, which are entertaining, informative and hysterically, laugh-till-you-cry funny.


A rollicking read!

by JeffwithaJ on Oct 21, 2008

David Sedaris cracks me up. Carl Hiaasen?s Floridian farces are each an entertaining hoot. And Bill Bryson is a surefire spirits-lifter, whether he?s summarizing the secrets of the universe in A Short History of Nearly Everything or expanding his own galaxy of personal anecdotes in The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir. And did my spirits ever need lifting? I?d just finished the beautiful but bleak The Road, so I welcomed the promise of a bit of mirth. And Bryson?s Thunderbolt Kid delivered more laughter and enjoyment than any mere mortal should be capable of. Perhaps Bryson is superhuman. That?s the premise of Thunderbolt Kid, in which the author details growing up in Middle America in the 1950s?a seemingly idyllic place and halcyon time. However, while Bryson?s childhood era was practically perfect in every way, it wasn?t all comic-book thrills and post-war prosperity. Surrounded by threats ranging from an increasingly chilly Cold War and ever-expanding culinary uses for Jell-O, young Billy Bryson discovered his own superhero powers and ?Thunderbolt Kid? identity after finding a mysterious, lightning-emblazoned jersey in his family?s basement. This ?Thunderbolt Kid? schtick could be kryptonite to a truly super childhood memoir, resulting in overwrought symbolism, saccharin sentimentality, and just-plain-annoying plotting. But Bryson makes it work, largely because he doesn?t play the superhero-kid card very often. Instead, he builds the story of his childhood around his distinctive wit and wry humor, presenting scene after entertaining scene of his life as an Iowa boy, with only occasional flashes of the Thunderbolt Kid character. This restraint gives Thunderbolt Kid a distinctive energy without overwhelming readers with gimmick. And the result is the most hilarious and winning memoir since David Sedaris?s Me Talk Pretty One Day.


Bill's Life

by Shasta on Aug 18, 2007

I loved this book. Growing up at approximately the same time as he did in the Midwest, I could identify with so much of the cultural recollections and I enjoyed them. He writes lovingly about his parents, but he doesn't make them out to be perfect. The 50's were a great time to be a kid and I love to see a book that doesn't glamorize what is negative about our culture, but enjoys what is silly and insular and true.

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