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The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Bill Bryson

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5,034203896 (3.88)173
Member:adammulvey
Title:The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Doubleday (2006), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Bill Bryson
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Tags:bill bryson

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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson (2006)

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Showing 1-5 of 200 (next | show all)
A great trip down memory lane. I did not grow up in Des Moines, but came to Des Moines often enough to recognize a lot of places mentioned. It was laugh out loud funny. ( )
  dara85 | Jul 29, 2016 |
I love this author's books and always end up crying with laughter. This book was no exception - he can't write fast enough for me.

Back Cover Blurb:
Bryson was born on December 8, 1951 and grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. He recounts many things that were invented during his childhood that fascinated him - frozen dinners, atomic toilets and television. He also remembers his adventures as 'The Thunderbolt Kid', an alter ego he made up for himself when he felt powerless. He was able to vaporize people with his heat vision and thought that he came from another planet. He tells us about his days at junior and high schools, about his smoking, drinking and stealing, although he didn't get caught at any of it. It is during this time that he meets his friend Stephen Katz who would accompany Bryson on many of his travel experiences. The last lines of the book are, 'What a wonderful world it was. We won't see its like again, I'm afraid.' ( )
  mazda502001 | Jul 29, 2016 |
Listened to the Playaway, as read by the author. When will I learn that I am not amused by Bryson? I found the humor to be either stale or forced, or both. Also, he tried to give us a history lesson of the fifties and early sixties, but there was a lot he overlooked. And even when he did speak of the atrocities re' atom bombs and Emmet Till, he made them seem almost as trivial as the (exaggerated) fact that his mom (a full-time journalist) burnt supper every night. So, mildly diverting to keep me company while doing housework, but nothing to recommend. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
As usual with Bryson be prepared for a laugh out loud funny book. Only he could capture with irreverent beauty growing up in the Midwest. This book provides a great walk down memory lane for those who grew up in the 50's and early 60's. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
Delightful memoir of growing up in the 1950-60s. Reminiscent of [A Girl Named Zippy], but told by a boy in the relatively "large" city of Des Moines IA. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 200 (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)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bryson, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diderich, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sibony, JulieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
Last words
(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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:21 -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)

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