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Off and on while listening to "The Thunderbolt Kid" you realize that no one's memory of childhood could be that good, and that Bryson has invented and embroidered throughout. But it doesn't matter: his Midwest 1950s is recreated in such careful detail that you're more reliving his story than listening to it. This is somewhat less than wonderful when he is describing with gusto, about once every five minutes, various encounters with boogers, dog poo, partially masticated food, and--but you get the idea. (On the other hand, if you're a conoisseur of the gross you'll be delighted.)
Bryson has a huge audience and most of his readers are not Americans of his generation, so he's justified in his historical excursions into the sociology and highly problematic American political culture of the 1950s. His boyhood in Des Moines was lived in a sort of happy bubble, something he's acutely aware of as an adult.
His reading doesn't have the range or verve of some professional readers, but it's clear and careful and has a quiet intimacy that grew on me as the reading went on.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I've listened to this book now four times and I'll listen to it again. It is by far my most highly recommended book. AND, it's even better in audio then it is reading it because Bryson is the narrator. It is heartwarming and funny and real and perfect. There is not high enough praise for this book.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful