Industrial Deals Beauty MagazinestoInspire STEM nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Wedding Rustic Decor Home Gift Guide Off to College Home Gift Guide Book House Cleaning _baw _baw _baw  Introducing Echo Show Limited-time offer: All-New Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, starting at $99.99 Kindle Oasis GNO Water Sports STEMClubToys17_gno

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 701 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,098 reviews
on January 18, 2017
To entertain so wonderfully by telling the tales of the past with such grace is the supreme talent of Bill Bryson.
The ease at which he delivers the heavy and the humorous, especially for those blessed with the audio version of his books, only opens up parts of the heart and mind that could have been dormant for ages.
I highly recommend this book, in particular, but also other of his works including, but not limited to One Summer... It's not only history, not only entertaining, but is a subtle, gentle call out to all of us to learn, to know, and to allow the things we know to affect us beyond merely reading a book.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 23, 2017
This is a sentimental book about the good old 1950's and growing up in them in the midwest. There are not nearly as many laughs as there are in some of Bryson's earlier books, but it's a pleasant read filled with warm memories and Bryson's obsessively researched asides. I'm curious about the concept of the Thunderbolt Kid for the book. His super-hero alter ego is mentioned maybe five times throughout the book and is completely unnecessary. In fact, it seems to be such an afterthought that I wonder if the publisher read the first draft and told him to add something that would grab the book shopper's attention. This is not at all a Bryson must-read, but if you grew up in the 50's, it may take you back.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 19, 2013
Even though I was a ''girl'', but still of the same generation as the author, this book brought back many carefree memories for me. I too remember running around the neighborhood with a towel pinned around my neck, playing a Super Girl of sorts. This was before I'd ever heard of Wonder Woman. Memories as well of getting our first TV, and later the first time I actually saw a color TV !
Overall, this book was highly entertaining, and provided me with far more than one moment of ''burst out loud laughter''. Immediately, as reading, I thought of others I would most certainly recommend this book to.
This was a time way back, when most children I knew lead carefree lives, and actually ''used their imaginations'' to think of ways to entertain themselves. When kids played games outside with other neighborhood kids, and were actually expected to be ''highly respectful'' of their elders.
Very nicely done. Lovely little jabs at the quirks of his father, his mother's cooking, other family members, all sorts of friend's oddities, both young and old.
A book you can pick up to read, just for the joy of escaping to a another time and place. To get a few good chuckles. Also to come to understand the viewpoint from a young boy's point of view, of stories in the local and international news, that now make me stop and realize how little I was effected by it all.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
My husband received this book as a gift from my step-mother. She had no idea what a perfect gift it was for him, since he was born in Des Moines, Iowa, where the adventures in this book took place. While my husband is younger than the author, his brother was the same age and it could almost be written by him. My husband's siblings have now all read this book or will have once his last sister receives this in the mail. Had to share it with her, but did not want to give up our own copy. It's a keeper.

While I, myself, grew up elsewhere, there are a lot of similarities with my own experiences of growing up in small town America, same types of businesses, just different names, same feel. It's really about growing up in the '50's and '60's all across America. If you grew up in that time era, you will most likely find similarities in your own life. Reading this book is like sitting down with the author, himself, and hearing his stories of growing up.

This book is fabulously nostalgic, warmly engaging, and truly laugh-out-loud funny.

While reading this book has led to reading other books by Bill Bryson, this is my husband's very favorite. Parts of it, he read aloud to me and I loved it as well.

If this review has been helpful to you, please indicate below. I rely heavily on reviews of others, so have tried to review this to the best of my ability. Read the book. It's great!
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 16, 2015
If you were alive in the midwest in the mid twentieth century, many parts of this book will either have you laughing out loud or feeling sentimental. The author must have been a thoughtful child and keen observer, though he portrays his child-self as carefree and heedless. Bryson described what I believed, while growing up, was the life of everyone's family but mine. The large and small details of everyday life that are described in the book make the times come to life for the reader. I find myself telling my children about things that existed then, and I have forgotten, because the book ignited those memories for me. The book is definitely written from the perspective a boy of the fifties and sixties, which is fine. He was a boy. I would be interested to read a book from the same era written by someone who was a girl at that time. I think it would include many of the same details and events peculiar to that time, but might be expressed in as a very different experience for the author, maybe not as humorous. That said, Bryson is also insightful in pointing out absurdities, incongruities, and consequences of the culture of that time in America.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 17, 2015
Bill Bryson's memoir of growing up in Des Moines is not only an exercise in nostalgia for what it was like being a child in the 1950's but a wonderful recapturing of what it is like to be a child. It is also a very funny book and not one to be read in public if you dislike having people look at you oddly when you involuntarily erupt into helpless laughter. The sheer number of endearingly eccentric characters from Bryson's formative years is amazing, from his oblivious parents to budding mad scientist Doug Willoughby to the infamous Stephen Katz. This book does for this period in America what Mark Twain did for the era of Tom Sawyer: keeps it vividly alive for all time.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 3, 2016
Being of the same era as Mr. Bryson there was much in this book I could relate to, even though, unlike him, I spent my childhood moving from place to place. And while this movement took me to places as far abroad as Europe, I would have much preferred, as a child, to stay home. My one personal caveat with the book was Mr. Bryson's slight revelations of his liberal side. Though with him, unlike so many others of his ilk, he has my forgiveness and tolerance. I have enjoyed and learned so much from his books, I cannot and will not stop reading them.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 1, 2015
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 gut laughing at this....when you're not too busy reliving the moments that had you scared to death (air raid drills in elementary school, anyone?) Nearly every page kept directing me back into my own youth, making me wish I had been wise enough to keep a detailed journal of each crazy day. Maybe I'll just write my own memoir for my son.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 5, 2015
This is the first book I read strictly for entertainment in a very long time. It was still informative. Bill Bryson successfully mixes memories of his childhood, which I suspect may be, shall we say, embellished with his view of the history of the 50s-60s era when he grew up. I was born the year after he was and remember many of the historical events. However, growing up near the northern border of Detroit, I did not have the access to downtown that Bryson had in Des Moines. His memories and points of view give the reader much to think about while being entertained. I may get some more of his books.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 22, 2007
Yes, I'm a Bryson fan, I've read several of his travel books, and often find myself laughing out loud with both appreciation and agreement.
I didn't rush to read this memoir, not sure that I was that interested in reading about the man himself. DO read this book, it has a little to do with Bryson but MUCH to do with: growing up in the mid-West, growing up in an unsophisticated place, growing up in the 50s and 60s, growing up with eccentric parents, growing up anywhere anyplace anytime.
Bryson's writing is not only hilariously funny in most places, but it is also sweet, notstalgic, and yet not sugar-coated. He knows, and we know, that lots of things were NOT better back then, just different. There are great photos that illustrate his life and times, and even a really interesting historical fact here and there.
Buy this book, lighten your load for some hours, laugh, and smile.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse