Monday, January 25, 2016

The Life and Times of Bill Bryson

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt KidThe Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bryson played my funnybones like a xylophone!

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is about growing up in the '50s. It's the sort of coming of age tale that educates along the way. God, I love this stuff!

It very much reminded me of the classic movie "A Christmas Story". Here on Goodreads, amongst all you worthy readers, I'm ashamed to say I haven't yet read the short stories by Jean Shepherd that the movie is based upon. But if they're anything like the movie then they're filled with remembrances of how things once were, which is the path Bryson takes. It's a nostalgic road at times. At others, it is sarcastic. Almost always it is humorous and engaging.

Bryson has a way with words and a talent for feeding you history without making you gag. He also has my kind of sense of humor, so together these things are bound to deliver at least a very enjoyable read. However, this Thunder Bolt rockets into the stratosphere with HYPERBOLE!!! You read that right, Bryson often, intentionally writes over-the-top when describing outcomes and consequences of his many childhood tales. "Little Johnny's" chemistry set doesn't just blow up, it lifts the roof off the house. This is how a kid would tell the tale and it sets the perfect tone, creating a book that really draws you into those heady kid days where summer vacations lasted years, simple joys or disappointments were end-game emotions, and anything seemed possible.

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