Bill Bryson’s first travel book opened with the immortal line, ‘I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.’ In this deeply funny and personal memoir, he travels back in time to explore the ordinary kid he once was, in the curious world of 1950s Middle America. It was a happy time, when almost everything was good for you, including DDT, cigarettes and nuclear fallout. This is a book about one boy’s growing up. But in Bryson’s hands, it becomes everyone’s story, one that will speak volumes – especially to anyone who has ever been young.
A wittily incisive book about innocence, and its limits, but in no sense an innocent book... Like Alan Bennett, another ironist posing as a sentimentalist, Bryson can play the teddy-bear and then deliver a sudden, grizzly-style swipe... might tell us as much about the oddities of the American way as a dozen think-tanks
A funny, effortlessly readable, quietly enchanted memoir... Bryson also provides a quirky social history of America... he always manages to slam on the brakes with a good joke just when things might get sentimental
Characteristic mixture of bemused wit, acerbic astonishment and sweet benevolence... Evocation of an era is near perfect: tender, hilarious and true
Outlandishly and improbably entertaining... inevitably [I] would be reduced to body-racking, tear-inducing, de-couching laughter
Graphic artist Neil Gower has designed the entire backlist of author Bill Bryson's books. How did he find a visual style to cover so many different titles?