Monday, October 14, 2013

Done: "LIfe and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson

Done: Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, 2006, 9780767919364.

For the Men's Book Club which had attendance of one plus me.

Different from the other Bryson books I have read.  A series of reminisces about growing up in Des Moines spiced with Bryson's usual historical research and massive exaggeration for comedic effect.

An aside:  I am listening to BBC 6 Music. Every evening at 10 PM (central time) they play documentaries.  Currently playing is a show about music producer George Martin.  I heard this one a few years ago and it is excellent.  Catch it online, if you like.

Bryson tells tales from childhood through adolescence.  Crazy neighbor kids.  His father's sports writing.  His father's habit of never wearing anything below the waist when sleeping.  Anarchy at kid matinees.  Favorite restaurants and downtown haunts.  Neighbor kid's explosive (literally) misadventures.  An unsatisfied adolescent sex life.

A fun read but not much to discuss in a book club.  The only things to go over would be the usual gripes and observations about the differences between then and now.  i'd like to point out that things are not always better and I get ticked off when people say so.  Here are my comments on that issue:

1.  Kids misbehaved back then.  Read Bryson's section about the anarchy during movie matinees.  His pal who stole train cars full of beer.  Making explosives for pranks.  Shoplifting.
2.  How education was stronger.  Hey, maybe it was, but Bryson had lazy teachers who wanted to show movies rather than teach.  Heck, the lousy kids would drop out or be expelled.  Education now works harder to reach those kids.
3.  Broken families and crap parenting have always existed and always will.

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