I have long been a fan of Bill Bryson's work. He has a knack for presenting the familiar in refreshingly unfamiliar ways. In this memoir of growing up in the 1950s, "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," he shares simple stories of what life was like for him and his friends and neighbors in Middle America - Des Moines, Iowa. There were too many spots for me to keep count when I burst out laughing at the image he had created in my mind as he related memorable characters and indelibly vibrant pranks and pratfalls.
This book is a loving portrait of a simple and satisfying time in which to grow up. It is one man's story of his boyhood, but it is also a slice of American cultural history as well. I can't wait to share it with my sister and brother, who will recognize many of the same dynamics of life as a kid when Ike was in the White House.