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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Bill Bryson

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Member:alphawoolf
Title:The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Broadway (2007), Paperback, 270 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson (2006)

1950s (137) 2007 (36) 20th century (25) America (66) American (32) audio (32) audiobook (33) autobiography (271) Bill Bryson (43) biography (251) Bryson (27) childhood (97) Des Moines (59) fiction (22) funny (28) growing up (32) history (29) humor (406) Iowa (111) library (20) memoir (546) Midwest (29) non-fiction (375) own (23) read (56) read in 2007 (25) to-read (58) travel (36) unread (23) USA (71)
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Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
The autobiography of Bryson's life in Iowa, growing up. It reminds me of the simpler times when kids were not always checked up on, ( )
  foof2you | Mar 15, 2014 |
Just did a relisten of this one. Words cannot express my love for Bill Bryson, and having an audiobook narrated by him is a treat and like having a friend with me on my commute. I'll definitely be listening to this one at some time down the road again; he's my favorite. This is a memoir, but also has a lot of history about the 1950s and lots and lots of humor. I highly recommend these as books, but especially as audiobooks. ( )
  Tahleen | Feb 16, 2014 |
read by Bill Bryson. Fun and funny. an engaging writer and good reader. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
This is Bill Bryson's memoir of growing up in Des Moines, Iowa in the 1950s and early 1960s. I'd classify this as minor Bryson: it's always interesting, occasionally very funny, but doesn't reach the heights of his best books - perhaps because his childhood was simply too happy and, mostly, too uneventful to provide enough material for a consistently interesting book. ( )
  timjones | Dec 26, 2013 |
Bryson is hilarious; we already knew that. The Thunderbolt Kid, whose astute and kid-wordly observations of the special spot in the middle of America distill the very essence of being at the top of the world in the 50s, is even funnier. There are many things young boys are after, like gory incidences on a boring afternoon, and cutting classes, and touching girls boobs, and seeing girls naked, and sneaking into the peep show, like having a night out at the movies with mom, and sex, and toys, and adventure, and sex, and their older brother's manly magazines, and sex (you get my point, I think.) Young boys of the 50s were not much different, except they were. Like everything else about the 50s. They had a bit of the glow and shine from the brilliant age of advertisement, the atom age, the days when you would throw a party when you got a new fridge. They certainly were glowing from all the atomic bomb fall out! Bryson tells all this in his usual sharp wit with a pinch of nostalgia and a lot of zest. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson is a memoir of growing up in Iowa, during the 1950's. The memoir was classic fun and an exploration into memories of growing up in the middle of America in the middle of the twentieth century. The book begins with a panoramic point of view on what the 1950's were about, and then Bryson gets closer and closer into his personal life. He masterfully pens his memories of pranks, jobs, candy, sex, politics, main-street, with a well crafted efficacy. So many memories of growing up in Longmont Colorado in the 1970's bubbled up. A fun listen.
 
Bill Bryson is erudite, irreverent, funny and exuberant, making the temptation to quote endlessly from The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir (Broadway, $25) hard to resist. Bryson interweaves childhood reminiscences seamlessly with observations about 1950s America, evoking a zeitgeist that will be familiar to almost everyone past middle age.
 
Had he written a purely personal view of his youth and left out the bits explaining how 1950s America was the best country in the world, my chuckles might not so often have given way to groans of annoyance.
added by MikeBriggs | editThe Spectator, Zenga Longmore (Sep 30, 2006)
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
In memory of Jed Mattes
First words
In the late 1950s, the Royal Canadian Air Force produced a booklet on isometrics, a form of exercise that enjoyed a short but devoted vogue with my father.
Quotations
You really should never fuck with the Thunderbolt Kid....He had, as he would boast in later years, a pornographic memory.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Abridged versions should not be combined with the full work.   "Parts of this book first appeared in somewhat different form in The New Yorker." T.p. verso
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0767919378, Paperback)

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 1950s

Bill 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 more 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:39 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. Using his fantasy-life persona as a springboard, Bryson re-creates the life of his family in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality--a life at once familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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