Skip to content

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New


2 Available

Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Bill Bryson's story was true, but the details and names were changed. He had a 'rich fantasy life as a superhero - The Thunderbolt Kid'.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Brought back so many memories!

If you grew up in the 50's and 60's, then The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson is a must-read! So well-written and,brings back so many memories of those times. Hysterically funny! A blast!

Very funny back in time book

I found this book hilarious. Bill Bryson takes a look back at his childhood unabashedly. One problem I had was I couldn't read this book in waiting rooms because I would frequently laugh out loud and get weird stares. I ordered an extra copy to give away. Makes a great gift. Will lift your mood. Highly recommended.

A great read!

This is a great read for anyone born in the 50's or a bit earlier. Nails it on the head!

The best kind of nostalgia

The only difficulty I had in reading this book was extracting it from my wife. This book has Lake Wobegon's optimistic take on growing up in a small town, and was a pleasure to read. It is set 5-10 years early than my own childhood, but nearly every page resonated with forgotten memories of growing up. Our fascination with anemic toys, naive view of other kids and especially the opposite sex, parental tyranny, joys, experiments with alcohol, and tedium of visits to the relatives and summer vacations - it is all here. Even the few interspersed, dead-serious send-ups of our foreign policy fiascos of the time like the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, and the space race were cast with an unerring aim for accuracy and surreality. I recommend Thunderbolts without reservation.

Made in America's Heartland

"Getting into the strippers' tent would become the principal preoccupation of my pubescent years." - Bill Bryson in THUNDERBOLT KID "Essentially matinees were an invitation to four thousand children to riot for four hours in a large darkened space." - Bill Bryson in THUNDERBOLT KID As I mature gracefully, reading the coming-of-age reminiscences of others that grew up about the same time I did - the 1950s - becomes an absorbing leisure activity. Perhaps I just need to supplement my failing memory with theirs. In any case, several fine volumes of the genre come to mind: Blooming: A Small-Town Girlhood by Susan Allen Toth, Sleeping Arrangements by Laura Shaine Cunningham, When All the World Was Young: A Memoir by Barbara Holland, and Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin. As you may have noticed, all four of these are by female authors who are recalling their girlhood. On the other hand, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID, by Bill Bryson, is all about boyhood. And, as I think you'll agree, boys are an entirely different species from girls. I should know as I used to be one of the former. For example, boys have a propensity for shenanigans that would elicit an "Eeeuw!" from the gentler sex, as the following passage on Lincoln Logs, of which I myself had a set, illustrates: "What Buddy Doberman and I discovered was that if you peed on Lincoln Logs you bleached them white. As a result we created, over a period of weeks, the world's first albino Lincoln Log cabin, which we took to school as part of a project on Abraham Lincoln's early years." Or this regarding the elementary school's space heaters: "The most infamous radiator-based activity was of course to pee on the radiator in one of the boys' bathrooms. This created an enormous sour stink that permeated whole wings of the school for days on end and could not be got rid of through any amount of scrubbing or airing." I'm virtually certain that Susan, Laura, Barbara and Doris never did either. Bill's recollections otherwise ran the gamut of those of any kid of either sex from that era: family vacations, the first televisions, favorite TV shows, the nature of contemporary comic books, toys, soda pop and candies, parents' occupations and eccentricities, Mom's cooking, the specter of The Bomb and Godless Communism, drop and cover drills, Saturday afternoons at the movie matinees, the National Pastime (major league baseball), the State Fair, Dick and Jane books, visits to Grandpa's farm, paper routes, strange relatives, and Best Friends. Oddly, there's no mention anywhere of a family pet. Is it that he never had one? How is this possible? Then, of course, there's the budding fascination with sex that includes the discovery of Ol' Dad's secret stash of girlie mags and the unfulfilled, feverish desire to see play pal Mary O'Leary nekkid. As in the author's other books, his ability to tell the story with a wry and self-deprecating wit is unmatched by any contemporary writer t

The FUNNIEST book I have read in years!!!

This is a wonderful, funny, and ultimately very human book, which reminds us all, no matter who we are or where we live (I'm Australian) of the total joys of a happy childhood. Bill Bryson is the first to confess that his was a normal, uneventful and by the standards of today, relatively bland childhood. But thankfully this has been rendered into a book that will have you laughing aloud, as we hear of his evolution into the fearless Thunderbolt Kid, complete with super hero talents; the list of alien (now commonplace) foods that never graced the family table, and the unique and gruesome ways he managed to hurt himself whilst playing (I was particularly fond of the tale where he hit his head on a rock and his friends bought pieces of his "brain" to his house - kids can be so thoughtful). This is a ray of sunshine in the literary world. It is truly the most delightful thing that I have read in a very long time, and I am a voracious devourer of books. I enjoy Bill's travel books, as he is a talented and observant writer, but this is a cut above - I think his very best to date. Do yourselves a favour. Buy yourself a couple of hours of happiness and read this book. Buy it for your friends and relatives, and relive your happy and normal childhood all over again. You will all treasure that moment where you remembered how you were a super-hero/alien/king or queen, and then get back to your normal, uneventful, adult lives.
Copyright © 2020 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured