Book review The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
When you physically have to stop reading a book in mid-sentence because you simply cannot continue, you try but the laughter emanating from you is so overwhelming, when you are snorting loudly like a pig, tears are streaming from your eyes in such copious amounts that you can’t see to read anyway and you are gasping for breath trying to get the next line out – now that is some kind of work-out!
This is that kind of book. Forget that it is set in America. It resonates with us Aussies ( over a certain age!) who can remember snippets of their childhood. Schooldays, shopping malls, parents, hobbies, distractions, the Atomic age, black & white television, food, tv heroes, movie stars of the golden days of Hollywood, comic books, bleeding, lots of bleeding.. and more.
We don’t have State Fairs or tornadoes and some of the foodstuffs mentioned are unrecognisable. This book is a page turner – not in the vein of David Baldacci or Dan Brown – if you like that sort of theme – but a page turner because you know sometime in the next paragraph you will once again be reduced to a blubbering wreck of mirthfulness and you will need to recover before continuing.
Take the subject of Dodgem Cars. We’ve all ridden them or heard of them, somewhere, at some local show or event, as children or teens.
“ The worst outcome was to be caught in a car that turned out to be temperamental and sluggish or broke down altogether because forty other drivers, many of them small children who had never before had an opportunity to exact revenge on anything larger than a nervous toad, would fly into you with unbridled joy from every possible angle.”
Can you picture where this is going?
The moral of this particular story is never leave your dodgem car to make a run for it!
I have enjoyed Bill Bryson’s descriptions of his life and travels to other countries and have most if not all of his books now. There is even a quote I have used many times on coach tours relating to cricket, which always gets a laugh and is handy when they the passengers, appear to be nodding off – after a big lunch – at a winery!
Excuse me whilst I return to chapter 12 titled “ Out and about “ and the Iowa State Fair!
Do not interrupt because I will be laughing heartily and it will sound like there is some kind of “ episode “ in progress.