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

By Bill Bryson

Rating: 4 stars

I enjoyed this (somewhat embellished) autobiography of Bill Bryson, about growing up in Des Moines, Iowa in the ’50s. Bryson describes a world seen through the eyes of childhood, a world where everything is shiny and the future is just around the corner. A world where everything is good for you (including cigarettes and radiation), that has traditional locally owned shops (including ones with atomic loo seats) and where things can generally be blamed on Lumpy Kowalksi. Occasionally life outside in Adult World is alluded to, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and some of the less scrupulous activities of the CIA are alluded to, but they never intrude too deeply into Kid World.

The 1950s are a deeply nostalgic time for the US as a whole, they were richer than ever before but hadn’t yet gained the cynicism that wealth brings. It was great time to be growing up, and Bryson guides us through that world in his own warm, beautifully written way in no less vivid detail than in one of his travel books.

Book details

ISBN: 9780552772549
Publisher: Black Swan
Year of publication: 2006

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