The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid : Travels Through My Childhood

3.92 (45,776 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Some say that the first hint that Bill Bryson was not of Planet Earth came when his mother sent him to school in lime-green Capri pants. Others think it all started with his discovery, at the age of six, of a woollen jersey of rare fineness. Across the moth-holed chest was a golden thunderbolt. It may have looked like an old college football sweater, but young Bryson knew better. It was obviously the Sacred Jersey of Zap, and proved that he had been placed with this innocuous family in the middle of America to fly, become invisible, shoot guns out of people's hands from a distance, and wear his underpants over his jeans in the manner of Superman. Bill Bryson's first travel book opened with the immortal line, 'I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.' In his deeply funny new memoir, he travels back in time to explore the ordinary kid he once was, and the curious world of 1950s America. It was a happy time, when almost everything was good for you, including DDT, cigarettes and nuclear fallout. This is a book about growing up in a specific time and place. But in Bryson's hands, it becomes everyone's story, one that will speak volumes - especially to anyone who has ever been young.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 28mm | 340.19g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • Illustrations, ports.
  • 0552772542
  • 9780552772549
  • 25,471

About Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is much loved for his bestselling travel books, from The Lost Continent to Down Under, but Notes from a Small Island has earned a particularly special place in the nation's heart (a national poll for World Book Day in 2003 voted it the book that best represents Britain). His acclaimed A Short History of Nearly Everything won the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communication Prize. He has now returned to live in the UK with his wife and family. www.billbryson.co.ukshow more

Review quote

"A wittily incisive book about innocence, and its limits, but in no sense an innocent book... Like Alan Bennett, another ironist posing as a sentimentalist, Bryson can play the teddy-bear and then deliver a sudden, grizzly-style swipe... might tell us as much about the oddities of the American way as a dozen think-tanks" -- Boyd Tonkin Independent "A funny, effortlessly readable, quietly enchanted memoir... Bryson also provides a quirky social history of America... he always manages to slam on the brakes with a good joke just when things might get sentimental" Daily Mail "Characteristic mixture of bemused wit, acerbic astonishment and sweet benevolence... Evocation of an era is near perfect: tender, hilarious and true" The Times "Outlandishly and improbably entertaining... inevitably [I] would be reduced to body-racking, tear-inducing, de-couching laughter" The New York Times "Seriously funny" The Sunday Timesshow more

Review Text

"Seriously funny"show more

Back cover copy

THE No.1 BESTSSELLER ‘Is this the most cheerful book I’ve ever read?...hilarious…a lovely, happy book’ Evening Standard ‘Tender, hilarious and true’ The Times Bill Bryson’s first travel book opened with the immortal line, ‘I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.’ In this deeply funny and personal memoir, he travels back in time to explore the ordinary kid he once was, in the curious world of 1950s Middle America. It was a happy time, when almost everything was good for you, including DDT, cigarettes and nuclear fallout. This is a book about one boy’s growing up. But in Bryson’s hands, it becomes everyone’s story, one that will speak volumes – especially to anyone who has ever been young. ‘Outlandishly and improbably entertaining’ New York Times ‘Wittily incisive…like Alan Bennett, Bryson can play the teddy-bear and then deliver a sudden, grizzly-style swipe…might tell us as much about the oddities of the American way as a dozen think-tanks’ Independent ‘His greatest gift is as a humorist, so it is the snickers, the guffaws and the undignified belly laughs he delivers on almost every page that make it worth buying’ Sydney Morning Herald 9780552772549 £8.99 ebook and audio available www.billbryson.co.ukshow more

Rating details

45,776 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 31% (14,209)
4 39% (17,879)
3 23% (10,648)
2 5% (2,348)
1 2% (692)
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