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For most of his adult life, Bryson has made his home in the U.K, yet he actually entered the world in 1951 as part of America's postwar baby boom and spent his formative years in Des Moines, Iowa. Bryson wistfully recounts a childhood of innocence and optimism, a magical point in time when a distinct sense of regional and community identity briefly—but blissfully—coexisted with fledgling technology and modern convenience. Narrating, Bryson skillfully wields his amorphous accent—somehow neither fully British nor Midwestern—to project a genial and entertaining tour guide of lost Americana. In portraying the boyish exploits of his "Thunderbolt Kid" superhero alter ego, he convincingly evokes both the unadulterated joys and everyday battles of childhood. As an added bonus, the final CD features an interview with Bryson in which he reflects on the process of writing his autobiography and discussing the broader social and cultural insights that he gleaned from the experience.
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Adult/High School–The Thunderbolt Kid was born in the 1950s when six-year-old Bryson found a mysterious, scratchy green sweater with a satiny thunderbolt across the chest. The jersey bestowed magic powers on the wearer–X-ray vision and the power to zap teachers and babysitters and deflect unwanted kisses from old people. These are the memoirs of that Kid, whose earthly parents were not really half bad–a loving mother who didn't cook and was pathologically forgetful, but shared her love of movies with her youngest child, and a dad who was the greatest baseball writer that ever lived and took his son to dugouts and into clubhouses where he met such famous players as Stan Musial and Willie Mays. Simpler times are conveyed with exaggerated humor; the author recalls the middle of the last century in the middle of the country (Des Moines, IA), when cigarettes were good for you, waxy candies were considered delicious, and kids were taught to read with Dick and Jane. Students of the decade's popular culture will marvel at the insular innocence described, even as the world moved toward nuclear weapons and civil unrest. Bryson describes country fairs and fantastic ploys to maneuver into the tent to see the lady stripper, playing hookey, paper routes, church suppers, and more. His reminiscences will entertain a wide audience.–Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I'm a huge Bill Bryson fan, so how this book escaped me until now, I have no idea. Although anyone would enjoy this book, if you're a child of the fifties, you're going to bust a... Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Sue J
Bryson at his best! A wonderful, humorous, touching stroll through his boyhood. Delightful!Published 3 days ago by LennE
Funny & fabulous!!!!! Informative & interesting!!!!! I highly recommend this book and already have done so to many friends and family.Published 5 days ago by Ginger Snappe
I grew up in the 50s........and could identify. Laughed so hard! The usual seamless writing of Bryson.Published 10 days ago by Valerie A. Valentine
This book was highly recommended to us, so I bought it to read to my wife. We had to stop after the first chapter or two. Read morePublished 11 days ago by eborknoid
Had me in tears of laughter knowing I did the same things and knew the same people who did them if I didn't Truly the good old days remembered.Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer