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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid | [Bill Bryson]

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

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.
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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

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  •  
    C Jones Scottsdale, AZ United States 01-03-09
    C Jones Scottsdale, AZ United States 01-03-09 Member Since 2015

    C Jones

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    "Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid"

    This is an exceedingly dull book. It was so disappointing after the witty and highly entertaining "Walk in the Woods" and other travel books by this author. If you've read "Walk in the Woods" and other Bryson travel books and are seeking additional Bryson style wit and originality - I think you will be disappointed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire A. Peterson Austin, TX United States 10-25-08
    Claire A. Peterson Austin, TX United States 10-25-08 Member Since 2006
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    "A blast from the the past"

    I too grew up in Iowa, although a bit later and not in Des Moines (my parents still mourn the degeneration of the Des Moines Register), however I totally relate to this story of how life used to be in the 50's for kids in the Midwest. We should all be dead or seriously maimed. The story is very funny and a great listen - I've listened several times just to smile. His descriptions are so great - exaggerations worthy of any school aged boy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gift For You 03-24-08 Listener Since 2007

    SC

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    "So funny and quite interesting!"

    As usual, Bill delivers! His wit and informative narrative remains highly entertaining. Bill grew up in the same era as my parents--giving me a incredible insight as to what life might have been like during their childhood. Bill also does a great job portraying life through a boy's eyes--delightfully insightful!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    V. Steel Gardnerville, NV, USA 03-16-08
    V. Steel Gardnerville, NV, USA 03-16-08 Member Since 2009
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    "Laugh out loud!"

    It was a delight to listen to - and remember when it was you or someone you know who was going through the same misadventures as Bill. It was a walk down your childhood memories in the best of ways. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Hans Bleeker Horsham, Pa USA 03-05-08
    Hans Bleeker Horsham, Pa USA 03-05-08 Member Since 2005
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    "born before 1955 listen to this at your own risk"

    There are parts of this story that caused me to pull over to the side of the road for fear of peeing my pants as I drove with tears in my eyes from the laughter. While I admit to being a little crazy, you must catch the expression on the other drivers stuck in traffic with you as you laugh out loud, I know some thought I had lost my mind.

    I am a big Bryson fan, I think this is the funniest book of the ones I have read. Strongly recommend this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    MusicMom13 Savannah GA 02-17-07
    MusicMom13 Savannah GA 02-17-07 Member Since 2011
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    "Andrea from PA"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Bertram Philadelphia, PA, USA 02-15-07
    Bertram Philadelphia, PA, USA 02-15-07
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    "Laugh out Loud"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Maria Crosman Langhorne, PA United States 01-18-07
    Maria Crosman Langhorne, PA United States 01-18-07 Member Since 2006
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    "the life and times of the thunderbolt kid"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    C. McCarley California 01-04-07
    C. McCarley California 01-04-07 Listener Since 2002

    Cammer

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    "Pretty good"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Cranberry 11-13-06
    Cranberry 11-13-06 Member Since 2010
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    "Funny!"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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