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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir Audio CD


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739315234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739315231
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 15 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #696,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teddy on Oct. 28 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is the first Bill Bryson book I have read, but certainly not the last!

Bryson takes a hilarious trip down memory lane. He mixes in his childhood memories of Iowa, historical facts, and adds his own character, The Thunderbolt Kid. It's a recipe for a fun filled ride with belly laughs and nostalgia.

This is a great book for baby boomers, but I think the younger generations will enjoy it as well. He writes of a less serious time in U. S. history. At time that was considered prosperous and care free. A time when giant box stores didn't take over entire towns like today.

I listened to the audio version of this book, which Bill Bryson narrates himself, on a plane trip. Passengers sitting near me asked what I was listening to, I was laughing out loud that much; it just couldn't be helped! If you don't like funny books, don't read or listen to this one. If you do like funny books you may want to read or listen to it in private so you don't draw attention to yourself like I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bulger on Oct. 16 2007
Format: Paperback
I always enjoy Bill Bryson's travel books (NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, A WALK IN THE WOODS) and his books on language (THE MOTHER TONGUE).

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID is a memoir, and since Bryson and I grew up in the same decades, I found a lot to like in this book. His writing is always funniest when it's personal and self-deprecating, and his stories of himself as a child are vastly entertaining.

But this book is more than memoir or a string of funny stories about his childhood. Bryson captures the time and place -- 50's small-town America -- and serves those "simpler times" up with affection. In those pre-minivan days a bicycle was a kid's ticket to ride; the movies were a gateway to the world; and a costume, whether the Thunderbolt Kid or Annie Oakley (am I saying too much?), was the passport to bravery and adventure.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE THUNDERBOLT KID, and probably would have enjoyed it no matter which decades were mine. Maybe it's a book of particular interest to the first wave of Baby Boomers, but the humor and whimsy of its presentation are wonderful counterpoint to its well-researched social context.

You're bound to laugh out loud at this book. If you like laughing out loud, then by all means read THE THUNDERBOLT KID.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. A. Ely on Jan. 16 2010
Format: Paperback
In spite of the title, and on a freinds recomendation I read this book while driving back from Oklahoma City to Canada. Right from the get go it was so perfectly hilarious that I fell off the seat laughing and snorted beverages up my nose twice. The humor is of that old style that we seldom see anymore. The author does not resort to fart jokes or body fluids for titilation, but relys instead on clever wit, intelligent observations, and perfect comic timming to deliver a what I hoped would be endless tour of the growing up in America. We vist the 60s in small town Iowa ..That darkly innoccent time .. and relive the ludicous ironies of the nuclear age in North America. Mr Bryson has packed in his tour in some of the flat out funniest stuff I have come across and all because it is so real and so helplessly ridiculous..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Martin Berthiaume on Aug. 20 2009
Format: Paperback
I've just reread this book a few weeks ago
Bill Bryson has written some pretty good book and some less than stellar one ; this one goes straight into the first category.
His depiction of America 1950/1960 as good as it ever gets but on top of this , his description of what is life for a youngster to grow up into this ,what seem to be the most fantastic time to grow up, just exceptionnal.
At the same time that you will be smiling and laughing you way trough the book , it makes you feel so unlucky that you weren't born into Desmoines 60 years ago.
Finishing up with that book , I could not get on with life without reading another Bryson from my librairy ...unfortunatly I picked "the lost continent" next ...which is ,without a doubt< the worst book the man has written. A good antidote
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jack Blatant on Oct. 8 2008
Format: Paperback
I must confess that I find Bill Bryson very enjoyable, although at times I think that he does go on a bit. At his best, Bryson is laugh-out-loud funny, and this book contains many such moments.

Bryson is always prone to exaggeration for effect, and he succeeds in making the 1950's loom extremely large. In this case, his technique is quite effective, as he really does seem to capture the spirit of a time period. Although I was not born until the early 1970's, I feel that with Bryson's help I have managed to catch a taste of what must have been a wonderful, bizarre, adventurous and strangely optimistic age. Well worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
I find it impossible not to like Bill Bryson and have read nine of his eleven books. However, when this one hit the shelves, I didn't rush out to buy it because, to be honest, it sounded a little bit odd. I mean, here was a seasoned author who'd written about capacious Australia and "nearly everything" in his previous two books, but was now penning anecdotes about his Des Moines, Iowa childhood. I wondered if Mr. Bryson weren't suffering from a bout of excessive sentimentality, but I am pleased to report that isn't the case.

Many of those childhood anecdotes are hysterically funny. I don't think I have ever - ever, mind you - laughed so hard with a book as I did with this one. And when not making you almost wet yourself chuckling, Bryson, of course, expertly and engagingly describes what has to have been America's most whacky and naively optimistic decade. His historical tangents are always engrossing and he does a wonderful job of balancing these with accounts of growing up. A jaunt through Bill Bryson's childhood should certainly encourage you to recall your own. What can you say? The guy is a fine writer.

Troy Parfitt, author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
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