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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

I do like the way this man writes, be he presenting the idiosyncrasies of the English, the trials and tribulations of an extraordinary walk or his brilliant exploration of science, he knows how to draw you in. Now he is writing about his childhood in 1950’s America. Basically it matters not that it’s American, it’s a childhood remembered, beautifully, and whatever your age I am sure you will empathise.

If you like Bill Bryson you might also like to read books by Stephen Clarke.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

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.


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

He can capture the flavour of the past with the lightest of touches…marvellous set pieces…As a chronicler of the foibles and absurdities of daily life, Bryson has few peers.
Sunday Telegraph

Is this the most cheerful book I’ve ever read, or the saddest?...hilarious…a lovely, happy book.
Evening Standard

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

About the Author

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He settled in England in 1977, and lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He and his family then moved to America for a few years but have now returned to the UK. He is the bestselling author of The Lost Continent, Mother Tongue, Neither Here Nor There, Made in America, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, Notes From a Big Country, Down Under and, most recently, A Short History of Nearly Everything. He is also the author of the bestselling African Diary (a charity book for CARE International).

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 2006


Bill Bryson

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Transworld Publishers Ltd




Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites



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