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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson

>> Monday, June 2, 2008

Genre: Non-Fiction (sort of – a memoir with a healthy dose of imagination a la A Christmas Story)
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 268
Non-Fiction Five #4

I have a hard time classifying this one as a strict non-fiction memoir. There’s a lot of childlike imagination and hyperbole instilled in it. It certainly did not keep me from enjoying the book, though. I giggled my way through this and continually read bits and pieces to The Hubster. I’m a few years younger than Bryson, but there was a lot of what he described about growing up in 1950’s Iowa that I also experienced growing up in 1960’s Oregon.

His vivid imagination and writing style puts the reader right in the mind of a kid who is convinced, (after reading the comic books in the kiddie corral at the grocery store) that either he or his parents are really from another planet and that his true identity is The Thunderbolt Kid. After all, why else would there be an old football jersey with a lightning bolt on it in the basement?

I laughed so hard at the description of electric football that I thought I was never going to regain my composure and I still get the giggles when I think about it. I’m keeping this book out from the library and have told The Hubster that he has to read it (there are actually a few parts that I resisted reading to him already).

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a nice look back at a simpler time that probably wasn’t really so much simpler, just another time. Through the eyes of an imaginative child, it’s mostly just fun with a bit of nostalgia and history thrown in.


Karen :) 6/02/2008 8:23 PM  

This book did bring back memories. The town I lived in as a young child was so small and backwards that it was probably like the '50's! I am glad you enjoyed it too!

Eleanor 6/03/2008 4:31 AM  

LOL -- The electric football passages had me choking I was laughing so hard! I adored this book -- and when I finished it I told Henry he HAD to read it, and he said, "What for? You've already read most of it to me!"

He did read it -- and he loved it, too.

joanna 6/03/2008 4:47 AM  

Thanks for the review - i've been wondering if this was any good! Now I'll have to get it!

Les 6/03/2008 4:22 PM  

My husband really enjoyed this and it's in my stack of nonfiction reads for the summer. We'll see if I actually get to it. The weeding seems to have priority these days, thanks to a lot of rain!

SuziQoregon 6/03/2008 8:34 PM  

Karen: it made me laugh and brought back a lot of memories.

El: Oh that is just too funny - practically the exact conversation The Hubster and I had.

Joanna: It's fun.

Les: weeding?? pfft! go read instead ;-)

Bookfool 6/04/2008 7:18 PM  

I keep saying I'm going to read this one, soon, so I'll just shut up this time. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

Teddy Rose 6/05/2008 12:56 PM  

I also got a lot of enjoyment from this book. I listened to the audio version that Bryson narrated himself. I think that really added to my enjoyment. I had just started this book when I got the call that my father was dying. This really helped to occupy me on the long plane trip!

SuziQoregon 6/06/2008 1:55 PM  

Bookfool: :-) you make me smile.

Teddy: I've heard it's a good one on audio too.

Framed 6/07/2008 11:24 AM  

I'd love to listen to this one on audio. Although I didn't like it as much as you, I did laugh a lot and enjoyed the nostalgia.

SuziQoregon 6/07/2008 8:20 PM  

Framed: If my husband hadn't been nearly done with his current book I would have waited and put it on my ipod for him to listen to on a road trip this summer. As it was, though, the timing worked out well for me to renew it from the library for him to read. I imagine it would be an entertaining road trip audiobook.

S. Krishna 7/02/2008 8:21 AM  

And of course, after I left that comment on the Book Blogs ring page, I found your revieW!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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