Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson is the next book on the list for Book Club, and I finished it during a wonderfully decadent Monday. Sometimes the best thing to do with a day off is lie around inside reading, and I took advantage of some time off to do just that. I had been really excited to read another book by Bill Bryson, because, lets face it, a writer that is able to make a story about failing to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail really fascinating, is an incredibly talented writer.
Bryson did a great job of bringing the 50s to life for someone who had never experienced it – a time of great optimism and wonder, and also a time of great fear and suspicion. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed to find out that the book was so much about the “Life and Times” – and so little about the “Thunderbolt Kid”. I’d expected more childish tales of fanciful and heroic deeds. But when the Thunderbolt Kid persona was mentioned, it was mostly just in passing – exercising some minor revenge by using his amazing powers of ThunderVision. Bryson stayed mostly focused on things that actually happened, either to him or in the world at large. Which is not to say that I didn’t laugh out loud at some of the things that he describes. The book is similar to the tone and style of A Walk in the Woods, and I’m not sure where I got my weird expectations from, but there they are. It was a more serious book than I imagined.