What’s it about? The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is a memoir of growing up during the 1950s and early 1960s in Des Moines, Iowa. The book is framed within Bill Bryson’s childhood fantasy of being a superhero, the Thunderbolt Kid. Among other things, Bryson recalls his father’s career as a sportswriter, his mother’s awkward experiments with cooking and the outrageous adventures of his infamous traveling companion, Stephen Katz.
Is the narrator any good? Audiobooks narrated by the author are usually really good or really bad. In this case, it’s the former – Bill Bryson’s blend of Midwestern and English accent is easy on the ears and his delivery perfectly suits his dry sense of humor.
The verdict? After listening to a number of “misery memoirs” (eg Angela’s Ashes and The Glass Castle) this past year, it’s nice to come across an audiobook where the author actually enjoyed his childhood! The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is a nostalgic, vivid and often hilarious audiobook which captures the essence of childhood. Although aimed at baby boomers, anyone will appreciate this memoir of growing up in the middle of the United States in the middle of the last century.