Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
Bryson is promoting his new book, a memoir of growing up in
The Globe and Mail had a positive, very gently critical review of Thunderbolt recently, written by New Yorker cartoonist/humourist Bruce McCall.
"It's an entertaining romp of a book, for at least three reasons. First, early boyhood is an empty-headed spring break of a life when nothing matters all that much, particularly oneself, so the autobiographical clay is as non-toxic as Play-Doh. Second, Bryson's boyhood was almost freakishly strifeless, a veritable pageant of Leave It to Beaver normality. Never fear, nothing really bad ever happens. Third, this is Memoir Lite, Freud-free, no greasy bathos. And anyway, the author seems just too sunny of disposition -- or too disciplined an entertainer -- to start dragging skeletons down from his childhood attic. His primary purpose, even in recounting the story of himself, is to give the reader a good time."
McCall published his own boyhood memoir in 1997 – Thin Ice: Coming of Age in
A thematically similar memoir is Haven Kimmel’s 2001 book A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Moorehead, Indiana. Like Bryson, Kimmel had a happy childhood growing up in the American Midwest. I found the book slight (there truly is no conflict!) but enjoyable. And of course, one must mention another Indianan, Jean Shepherd, the humourist who wrote In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. The 1983 film, A Christmas Story, a holiday classic, was based primarily on the autobiographical humour found in this collection, in which a journalist returns to his