June 20 - Easy summer reading
Had no idea young Billy Bryson was such a trickster as a youth! Most Boomers will feel his nostalgia for a time before franchises and shopping malls drained the life and character out of small cities and towns. What I most loved were his comments about his parents, his appreciation for his father's writing style: "...while Burns roamed...."! Ha. The apple didn't fall far from the tree.
Bill Bryson can do no wrong. The wit and wisdom that he brings to everything he writes will keep me coming back for more for as long as he keeps writing. I'm having a great time catching up on all his past books.
Amusing and quick read!
There were a few good laughs and some interesting 50's history and recollections but overall this book isn't nearly as entertaining as Bryson's other books. It feels like a crude recollection of childhood smattered with vulgar language and an immature outlook. Read 'In a Sunburned Country' if you want a fun Bryson book.
For anyone who lived through the 1950's (or for anyone who wants to know what it was like to live in the 1950's), I would recommend this book. Bryson remembers this simpler time, a time where parents expected you to be outside from eight in the morning till supper 'unless you were on fire or actively bleeding'. He takes us through his childhood and a series of topics like the space race, the nuclear bomb, the emergence of TV and discusses these topics and many more with humour and often with a nostalgia of what he believes were the better times. After all the 50's kids were indestructible as "we didn't need seat belts, air bags, smoke detectors, bottled water...helmets when we rode our bike, child safety caps on our medicines". Yes, very true indeed! It was an era where more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette (ha,ha) and supermarket foods contained so many chemical additives and "sometimes they contained some food as well, I believe." He discusses at length the toys of the 50's including model making (kits with sixty thousand tiny parts and tubes of glue that would result in hundreds of sagging strands that were "all connected to something that had nothing to do with model airplanes" Again just as I remember it and very funny too. They had to worry about "polio, keeping up with the Joneses, Negroes moving into the neighbourhood and the number one fear being teenagers.
This is a well written easy to read book with lots of very funny moments. It ends with a sense that something good was lost and he laments that "we didn't keep the things that made us different and special and attractive." "What a wonderful world it was. We won't see its like again, I'm afraid". And being of that era, I heartily agree!!
A memoir about a happy childhood!
A child of the fifties, Bryson's brilliant and hilarious portrayal of the themes of the day (the emergence of television, the atom bomb...) and scenes from his family life will have you reading aloud to anyone who will listen. If you like to laugh this is a must read.
A very well written and complete walk down memory lane if you grew up in the 50's. Wonderful quick to read book!
For all Brysonites, this is a must read!
For anyone interested in a good memoir that captures life in the 50 and 60s, this is the book to read. Having grown up in the 70's, I could relate to a lot of the nostalgia and belly laughed at the similarities. Bill Bryson is a witty and talented author.
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