The life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

There is no escaping this man Bryson. Everyone’s bookshelves will eventually reveal at least one copy of his books. And I have aThunderbolt-Kid fatal weakness for his style of writing, even though I find myself occasionally getting impatient with some of his flights of fancy, with sentences that suffer from over-intensive verbiage, and the knowledge that his memory can’t be so sharp as to remember, in box-camera kodachrome detail, all the nuances of his childhood. I know he makes some of it up…..but what the heck!

Staying in a friend’s house on the Yorkshire coast recently, I found a copy (amongst others) of The life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and I had all of 36 hours to read it before we left to go home. But a great blessing in Bryson’s writing is that it usually makes for quick reading, and missing the odd detail here and there makes little difference to your appreciation of the subject matter.

It goes without saying that the Thunderbolt Kid was a childhood comic hero of Bryson’s, and whenever anything went awry in his life, he simply applied the powers of his super hero to solve the problem……which usually meant exterminating, in some prolonged and painful way, the person (or persons) who had caused him grief.

Bryson was a child of the 50s and 60s, and this volume is his attempt to paint a picture of life in the middle America of that period through the eyes of a child and teenager. Of course, being an adult when he pens the account makes him an unconvincing mouthpiece for his generation in the 50s and 60s, but Bryson is a word-artist, and the pictures he paints are both endearing and amusing.

If you like Bryson, this is worth adding to your reading list.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 29, 2014, in Book reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Count me among Bryson’s ever-growing fan base. I’ve read almost everything he’s ever written, although I prefer his travel books to other topics such as this. I will add this one to my reading list!

  2. Like almost every one else I am also a Bryson fan: I have never laughed so much in my life at a book as I did at Notes from a Small Island. I shall see if we can add Thunderbolt to our repertoire Tony: Judith is away with the fairies or the twins

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