The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir

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The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir

by Bill Bryson

Doubleday Canada | September 25, 2007 | Trade Paperback |

3.7273 out of 5 rating. 11 Reviews
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From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language, a vivid, nostalgic and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the middle of the United States in the middle of the last century. A book that delivers on the promise that it is "laugh-out-loud funny."

Some say that the first hints that Bill Bryson was not of Planet Earth came from 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 this hilarious new memoir, he travels back to explore the kid he once was and the weird and wonderful world of 1950s America. He modestly claims that this is a book about not very much: about being small and getting much larger slowly. But for the rest of us, it is a laugh-out-loud book that will speak volumes - especially to anyone who has ever been young.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 288 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: September 25, 2007

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385661622

ISBN - 13: 9780385661621

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– More About This Product –

The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir

by Bill Bryson

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 288 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: September 25, 2007

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385661622

ISBN - 13: 9780385661621

Read from the Book

EXCERPT Burns Unit The only downside of my mother’s working was that it put a little pressure on her with regard to running the home and particularly with regard to dinner, which frankly was not her strong suit anyway. My mother always ran late and was dangerously forgetful into the bargain. You soon learned to stand aside about ten to six every evening, for it was then that she would fly in the back door, throw something in the oven, and disappear into some other quarter of the house to embark on the thousand other household tasks that greeted her each evening. In consequence she nearly always forgot about dinner until a point slightly beyond way too late. As a rule you knew it was time to eat when you could hear baked potatoes exploding in the oven. We didn’t call it the kitchen in our house. We called it the Burns Unit. “It’s a bit burned,” my mother would say apologetically at every meal, presenting you with a piece of meat that looked like something — a much-loved pet perhaps — salvaged from a tragic house fire. “But I think I scraped off most of the burned part,” she would add, overlooking that this included every bit of it that had once been flesh. Happily, all this suited my father. His palate only responded to two tastes — burnt and ice cream — so everything suited him so long as it was sufficiently dark and not too startlingly flavorful. Theirs truly was a marriage made in heaven for no one could burn
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From the Publisher

From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language, a vivid, nostalgic and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the middle of the United States in the middle of the last century. A book that delivers on the promise that it is "laugh-out-loud funny."

Some say that the first hints that Bill Bryson was not of Planet Earth came from 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 this hilarious new memoir, he travels back to explore the kid he once was and the weird and wonderful world of 1950s America. He modestly claims that this is a book about not very much: about being small and getting much larger slowly. But for the rest of us, it is a laugh-out-loud book that will speak volumes - especially to anyone who has ever been young.


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Jacket

"Outlandishly and improbably entertaining. . . . An evocation of childhood that's movingly true, no exaggeration necessary."
-The New York Times

"An entertaining romp of a book. . . . By the end of this vaudeville bill of a memoir, [Bryson] has you wishing you'd grown up in Des Moines in the 1950s yourself."
-The Globe and Mail

"Pitch-perfect, nostalgic, and tenderly ironic. . . . Wise. Somewhat innocent. This is a marvelous book."
-The Boston Globe

"A book about the joy of small things, about the rich and distinctive features that constitute normality, about the strange and singular ways in which everyday life is anything but quotidian. . . . Bryson is the master of the telling detail."
-Observer (UK)

About the Author

Bill Bryson's bestselling books include A Walk in the Woods, Neither Here Nor There, In a Sunburned Country, Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words, and A Short History of Nearly Everything, the latter of which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize. Bryson lives in England with his wife and children.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"Outlandishly and improbably entertaining. . . . An evocation of childhood that's movingly true, no exaggeration necessary."
-The New York Times

"An entertaining romp of a book. . . . By the end of this vaudeville bill of a memoir, [Bryson] has you wishing you'd grown up in Des Moines in the 1950s yourself."
-The Globe and Mail

"Pitch-perfect, nostalgic, and tenderly ironic. . . . Wise. Somewhat innocent. This is a marvelous book."
-The Boston Globe

"A book about the joy of small things, about the rich and distinctive features that constitute normality, about the strange and singular ways in which everyday life is anything but quotidian. . . . Bryson is the master of the telling detail."
-Observer (UK)
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