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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Audiobook

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

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Publisher's Summary

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, his 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 in 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, Bryson recreates the life of his family and his native city in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality, at once completely familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy. 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 an audiobook as Bill Bryson has ever recorded. It will enchant anyone who has ever been young.

©2006 Bill Bryson; (P)2006 Random House, inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This affectionate portrait wistfully recalls the bygone days of Burns and Allen and downtown department stores, but with a good-natured elbow poke to the ribs." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1433 )
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  •  
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 08-11-08
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 08-11-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hysterical!"

    I listen while driving. I drive a convertible. There aren't many books that have me literally laughing out loud every 15 minutes or so as I drive. The people around me on the freeway must really be wondering what I'm up to.
    Thank you Mr. Bryson. A VERY funny book. I enjoyed it immensely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela A. Price San Diego, CA 10-31-07
    Pamela A. Price San Diego, CA 10-31-07 Member Since 2007

    kindle owner

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    "Great read"

    Despite a lot of hyperbole, Bryson again delivers a great read! His description of his life in the 50's and 60's in middle America is a delight.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KMH 11-12-06
    KMH 11-12-06 Member Since 2006
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    "Just ok, not up to par"

    This audio book has a few moments of good laughs and funny anecdotes but simple stated this book is not as good as his other works. If you are looking for something like “A walk in the Woods” or “In a Sunburned Country” this is not it.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Cotacachi, Ecuador 07-05-12
    Rick Cotacachi, Ecuador 07-05-12 Member Since 2013

    In a small, peaceful town on the Equator, the sun always sets at 6, and a good audiobook is always the perfect evening companion.

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    "Total Recall"

    I too grew up in Iowa in the 1950s, but without the photographic memory of Bill Bryson. Yet when he says it, I recognize it. And although I was not aware that Bishops Cafeteria in Des Moines had atomic toilets, I'm grateful to know it now. This is an amazing, sensitive, delightfully exhaustive recollection of an incomparable decade of American social history, and it's done with the author's trademark hilarity. Listening to Bryson recount the essence of that era, you feel like he's grabbed it all back, just in the nick of time, before it faded forever.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Austin Temple, TX United States 05-21-07
    Terry Austin Temple, TX United States 05-21-07 Member Since 2000
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    "Classic Bryson"

    Bill's travels have always been a favorite of mine. This one takes us on a journey back in time to a happier, more innocent, yet just a bit more twisted - childhood in a time where our own kids would be lost without the beep-beep of electronic toys. Thank you, Bill for some wonderful memories, and some of your exceptional belly-laughs! Keep 'em coming!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teacher Lady Midwest 11-26-06
    Teacher Lady Midwest 11-26-06 Member Since 2012
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    "A Boomer Must-listen"

    Nobody can write like Bill Bryson, and nobody can read Bryson like Bryson. Anyone born in the late 40's through the mid-50's must get this title. I laughed, I cried, and I loved every minute of it. I am getting the print book for my siblings and siblings-in-law who grew up in the 50's. I only regret that all of Bryson's books are not available in unabridged format, read by the author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 11-16-06
    Richard 11-16-06
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    "Remember when"

    for anyone growing up in the 50's and 60's this is a must read... true humor... reality... a superb read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Eva Alamogordo, NM, USA 08-16-09
    Eva Alamogordo, NM, USA 08-16-09
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    "Very, vary funny!!!! Very very true!!!"

    I have been a big fan of Bill Bryson but this book is his best! He had me Laughing the entire book. I grew up in the sixties but alot of the things he talked about related to me too. It brought back many of my child hood memories. Hes right too. Things were so inicent then.They will never be the same. I agree with him that the food wasn't too great either! No matter whose mother was cooking it! I can't beleive I loved TV dinners then! Bryson is my super hero auther!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-19-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Heartfelt childhood memoir of growing up in America"

    Read by author- low, soft, understated- moves it from humour to comedy.Reading his own work is key to the success of his books in audio form.
    Stories of wonder and good natured fun, vignettes used as a springboard for further discussion about that time in history. Beautiful language, offering the listener robust images of the 50s and 60s in the US.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire Warren STONINGTON, CT, US 09-14-16
    Claire Warren STONINGTON, CT, US 09-14-16 Member Since 2012
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    "1960s kid fun"

    loved it, he captured the childhood of the 60s, his own voice added a good dimension.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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