The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid: Travels Through my Childhood Paperback – 4 Jun 2007
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"A wittily incisive book about innocence, and its limits, but in no sense an innocent book... Like Alan Bennett, another ironist posing as a sentimentalist, Bryson can play the teddy-bear and then deliver a sudden, grizzly-style swipe... might tell us as much about the oddities of the American way as a dozen think-tanks" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)
"A funny, effortlessly readable, quietly enchanted memoir... Bryson also provides a quirky social history of America... he always manages to slam on the brakes with a good joke just when things might get sentimental" (Daily Mail)
"Characteristic mixture of bemused wit, acerbic astonishment and sweet benevolence... Evocation of an era is near perfect: tender, hilarious and true" (The Times)
"Outlandishly and improbably entertaining... inevitably [I] would be reduced to body-racking, tear-inducing, de-couching laughter" (The New York Times)
"Seriously funny" (The Sunday Times)
Bill Bryson on his most personal journey yet: into his own childhood in America's Mid-West.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Although the stories contained in the book are interesting in their own right, it seems that a certain emphasis has been placed on the comedy aspects, although this never feels like it is forced. Tales of the `toity jar', a Grandmother's public confusion over liquorice baby sweets and Bryson's one-of-a-kind father had me absolutely howling with laughter.
`The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid' is an appealing slice of Americana, and a timely reminder that the USA was once a pretty fascinating and charming place. Highly recommended.
In this new book, however, he deals with his upbringing in the Central U.S. in Iowa. Bryson proves himself to be a renaissance man, writing about growing up and his strained relationship with his father. Everybody who's experienced this, which is many, can relate.
Bryson is at his FUNNIEST, WRYEST, and MOST TOUCHING in this book. It'll make you laugh and maybe even cry. If you're the sensitive sort.
This is one of three books in the past few months that made me laugh out loud. Repeatedly. The others are "Dave Barry's Money Secrets" a send up of investment books and Martha Bolton's "Maybe Life's Just Not That Into You" an EXTRAORDINARILY FUNNY spoof of self help books.
I hope Bryson writes more books centering on his youth. Although I cannot relate in the least to growing up in this place called Iowa (I always thought it was "Ioway") he's a marvelous writer and made me feel like I was born in Ioway. Er, Iowa.
Bill Bryson is the master of the jovial, chuckling and mischeiveous sideways glance.
For me this was a great book on a couple of levels.
First, the warmth. America in the 50's is a really god backdrop. The theatres, the baseball, the apple pie, the early days of television and hilarious stories of missed female flesh in the treehouse.
Secondly though, its the really powerful and delicately done stories of America's dark side; the Anti-Communist obsession, racism, failings on the space race, nuclear testing, the exploitation of countries by Corporate America. He never laboured the points or tackled them in an obvious way.
This book could easily be bedtime reading for the Anti-American, Anti-Globalisation and Anti-Everything briggade.
Overall its a sad book. Fond recollections of an era gone by.
I feel the same myself.
Until he writes another book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As Mr Benson says if only we could return to the glorious days of our childhood, not to be I'm afraid so this is probably the next best thing. Read morePublished 17 days ago by john cairns
Warm, witty, informative and evocative. The book has me wishing I was growing up in 50s/60s America. I couldn't put it down.Published 3 months ago by Rondo K