Bill Bryson, as I’ve said before, is possibly my favorite living author. He is the living embodiment of the Great American Humorist. He is the modern day Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, or Kurt Vonnegut, and his writings walk that line between absurdity and mundane, and we come to find that the only real absurd thing about him is that he writes the things we all think in our heads but don’t realize anybody else thinks them.
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is a fun glimpse into his upbringing in Iowa during the 50’s and 60’s. His family, which has been mentioned in his previous books, is here explored in wonderful, horrible detail, and you learn to love the boy that became the author, the friendships he garnered through his life, the town that cultivated him, and even the crazy but brilliant family. And throughout this heartwarming tale of childhood reflection and self-discovery Bryson weaves the tail of his superhero imaginary alter ego to explain how he handled the situations in his mind after they had in fact already taken place with horrible outcomes. I have my own superhero alter ego from my childhood: the Slob-o-Tron, the fighter of cleanliness and order everywhere.
Bryson is a master that should be held in the same regard as the likes of Heller, Vonnegut, and Barry. Well done, sir, and thank you for sharing.