When where you were was special because it wasn't like anyplace else... Bill Bryson remembers a Des Moines in the 50s that had character and a unique set of businesses and places...before the days of chain stores, chain restaurants, indoor malls. The reference to politics is negligible -- it's a great listen. Bryson doesn't take it seriously and neither should the listener.If you are a boomer, laugh away and just ENJOY!
Loved listening to this book - Bill Bryson is able to catch the essence of childhood. I laughed out loud. Everyone would love this book who can recall what it was like to be a kid growing up the 1950's.I could listen to it all over again.
I enjjoyed every minute of tis book. I gave a copy to an aunt and I could have given this book to the high school nephews, too. Great read.
Entertaining. Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors, and I love books where the author is the narrator. Bill Bryson's enormous talent as a wordsmith is apparent here. However, this book is not as good as others he's written. It didn't have the level of childlike spirit I thought it would, and I thought the main character was a bit cynical for a kid.
So different from A Short History of Everything. This book was very funny! My stomach hurt from laughing at times. I loved the way he imitatates the adults. I have to go and listen to some of his other "memoir" type books.
This memoir of Bryson's youth in the Midwest is interesting and entertaining. Occasionally Bryson destroys the mood by injecting political comentary that has nothing to do with the plot.
I am still trying to figure out how a rant against political intrigue in Central America fits in this book. Equally hard to comprehend, is the fact Bryson seems unable to understand that nationalizing private businesses and distributing their assests to the masses, is in fact, communism. It doesn't matter whether one agrees or disagrees with this policy. It is what it is. Bryson seems to feel this is more democratic than communistic. Come on Bill, you are smarter than that!
As another reviewer said, the hardest part of listening to this book is explaining to the drivers around you why you are laughing so hard! Special note: Hearing Bill Bryson read the book makes it so much better. I can't imagine that reading it could be as funny as hearing his voice with his dry sense of humor. It makes it so much better! I grew up in the 50's and experience much of what he talks about - downtown stores, the introduction of television in the home, chain restaurants and over-heated elem schools. But I literally laughed so hard, I had to pull off the road to get a grip. Great book!
What a disappointment....a true American story told by an author with a British accent. It is very distracting. So also is the litany of facts about life in 1950's America. More humorous stories, less facts, would be greatly appreciated.
This book is delightful. I just wish I'd read it, rather than listened to it. Lots of reviewers seem to like hearing Bryson's voice. I have to disagree. He has a sinus infection/allergy/something going on that makes me want to say "Please, blow your nose!" Plus, he's lost his Iowa accent and now sounds like Madonna. Very, very distracting -- and not very believable as the Thunderbolt Kid.
When the author, who is also the narrator, told me at the begiining that his childhood was uneventful, translate boring, that should have been my clue. There are so many excellent books out there, I would recommend not wasting your time and money on this one.