The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is a wonderful and witty memoir of Bill Bryson’s childhood journey through the 1950’s. Mr. Bryson goes back to the absurdity of the golden age of no seat-belts, no airbags, helmets, and bottled water or knee pads. An age where people still trusted the FDA and cigarettes were recommended by doctors.
- 270 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0739482939
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The “Thuderbolt Kid” is Bryson’s alter ego, which adds some humor the memoir but no real substance – but it’s a great title, isn’t it?
What gives this book its unique voice, as oppose to several other memoirs I read, is that the memoir is told through the eyes of Mr. Bryson as if he went back in time to his childhood in Des Moines, IA but retained his talent for writing and life experience – yet writing from the perspective of a child with a wink and a nod towards the appreciative audience. The anecdotes are told through outlandish exaggerations which are so outlandish and unbelievable they become hilarious – like Mrs. Vandermeister who was “700 years old, possibly 800“.
The book is polished, entertaining and a well written. The stories are nostalgic but not overly sentimental and contain wry wit laden with sharp observations. The characters in this book are refreshing as they are seen from a childish viewpoint – but observed by an adult. Bryson does an excellent job to of balancing the simple optimism of the 1950’s against the social upheaval which were tearing society apart at the time.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my sister.
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