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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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Performance
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  •  
    Eli 08-03-12
    Eli 08-03-12 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of Bryson's best yet"

    This book was laugh out loud material. Most authors don't their book justice by narrating it themselves. Bryson's wonderfully cynical humor comes alive and almost makes me wish to have grown up in the 1950's Des Moine. Out of the several hundred audio books I own, this is in my all time favorite list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dixie St, Louis 06-21-12
    Dixie St, Louis 06-21-12 Member Since 2014

    Well read X

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    "Hilarious, insightful look at growing up "Boomer""
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid to be better than the print version?

    Only in that it was easier to "read" in the car. The author has lived in England for so long that he sounds a little less All-American than the story he's telling.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author's witty take on his childhood and the familiarity of so many aspects of the story. His discussion of the toys & candy of that era, for example, was spot on.


    Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Loved "At Home." A completely different kind of book, but still imbued with Bryson's combination of wit and insight. Both of these are my go-to choices when nothing else is appealing to me. Could read/listen to them over and over. And have.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laughed, laughed, laughed. Experienced the best sort of nostalgia - non-sappy. And was somewhat saddened by remembering the pre-franchise days when every city looked a little different. We've lost something now that we live in Home Depot, McDonalds, 7-11, Wal-Mart land.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're a boomer, you should read this book to take a trip back in time. If you're younger, you should read it to get a glimpse into what life in middle America used to be like. Plus, some things never change for kids - parents are still embarrassing, school is still painful, budding relationships with the opposite sex are still awkward. You will laugh.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NC Boy Waynesville, NC USA 06-11-12
    NC Boy Waynesville, NC USA 06-11-12 Member Since 2012

    A book lover from way back

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    "Great Book"

    If you've read and enjoyed any other stories by Bill Bryson, this one will be right up your alley. It started out slow, but once it got going, it had me laughing out loud.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Libby Mount Vernon, WA, United States 02-13-12
    Libby Mount Vernon, WA, United States 02-13-12 Member Since 2016
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    "a walk back into my childhood years"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid to be better than the print version?

    It's fun to hear the author read his own words, makes it more personal, and on a memoir it's almost essential.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I think the 1950's was my favorite character.


    What does Bill Bryson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is droll and that comes through in the reading by the author.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    there were a few laugh-out-louds along the way, a surprising joy. It was my first Bill Bryson book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Guys Mills, PA, United States 02-06-12
    Judith Guys Mills, PA, United States 02-06-12 Member Since 2012

    JAM

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    "Laugh Out Loud"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid to be better than the print version?

    Not better- just different!


    What other book might you compare The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid to and why?

    None- this book is hilarious!


    Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes- all are excellent- this one is the funniest.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many moving moments- if by moving you mean over the top funny.


    Any additional comments?

    GET THIS BOOK- it will lift your spirits- especially if you are a

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray 05-28-11
    Ray 05-28-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Funny Book"

    Just an outstanding book. I'm a little biased towards Bryson - I have several of his books - but I'm biased because he just writes some very funny stuff.


    There was one part where he kind of goes on a political statement of sorts, but I just went forward to the next chapter and only missed a few minutes of the book. No problem, and I don't even recall what axe he was trying to grind, but it wasn't enough to detract from the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Craig Yamasaki 04-13-11 Member Since 2016
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    "Simply Sublime!!!"

    If your childhood was during the early 1950's, this is a book that will bring you hours of smiles, laughter and joyful remembrance of a time that really was during a kinder more gentle nation. Not simply a recitation of things long forgotten, but a wonderful story that revives our memories of all those things in a delightful way.

    Few books have reminded me of the joys of youth as this one has, and I envy your re-discovery of those times as read by Bill Bryson and the wonder of those innocent and fun filled days.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOSEPH Bonners Ferry, ID, United States 10-19-10
    JOSEPH Bonners Ferry, ID, United States 10-19-10 Member Since 2010

    Joseph Brown

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    "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid"

    I really enjoyed listening to the book. My daughter had gotten me the Hardback book, but I hadn't read it yet. I love and have loved audio books since the 1980's when they were a bit scarce, not like today. Anyway, I really enjoyed the 'shared experiences' of growing up with this story. Although Bill Bryson is six years older than I am, it was still interesting and often funny to remember how similar my youth was growing up in (then) small town California to his in Iowa. If you to are of that 'age', or just what an idea of what your parents or by now, grand parents life was like, check it out!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William New Port Richey, FL, United States 05-07-10
    William New Port Richey, FL, United States 05-07-10 Member Since 2014
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    "Brings back the good old days"

    I loved this book. It brought back so many memories about growing up in the fifties. Bryson has a unique talent for capturing unique things about places and times and he really captures the strangeness of the 50's. His recollections are almost like "Twilight Zone" stories, but mostly fact, not fiction. I've read a lot of Bryson's books, but this was my first Bryson on Audible. I enjoyed his reading of the book, with his "touch of British" accent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brett Yorba Linda, CA, United States 03-02-10
    Brett Yorba Linda, CA, United States 03-02-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Awesome"

    I wish Bill Bryson had a thousand books I could read. I've read every single one so far and always come away with new and interesting facts through his uniquely funny stories. I am also a big fan of him reading his own material. Only Bryson can convey the unique viewpoints the way they way intended to write them. Buying this book is a no brainer. Get it. You'll love it. If you don't, you've lost your sense of humour about life and need therapy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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