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Bill Bryson on his most personal journey yet: into his own childhood in America's Mid-West.

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.

Reviews

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

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

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

Daily Mail

Characteristic mixture of bemused wit, acerbic astonishment and sweet benevolence... Evocation of an era is near perfect: tender, hilarious and true

The Times

Outlandishly and improbably entertaining... inevitably [I] would be reduced to body-racking, tear-inducing, de-couching laughter

The New York Times

Seriously funny

The Sunday Times

Hilarious... not your typical travel writer

Sunday Telegraph

Funny, wise, learned and compulsive

GQ

Not only hilarious but also insightful and informative

Independent on Sunday

Always witty and sometimes hilarious... wonderfully funny and touching

Literary Review

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781784161811

    January 4, 2016

    Black Swan

    384 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781409095781

    May 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    384 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Audio Book

    9780552153652

    September 1, 2006

    Corgi Audio

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Road to Little Dribbling
Down Under
Mother Tongue: Popular Penguins
At Home (Illustrated Edition)
One Summer
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything
At Home
Troublesome Words
Icons of England
The Lost Continent
Walkabout
Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors
Bryson's Dictionary
Neither Here, Nor There
Bill Bryson's African Diary
Notes From A Big Country
A Walk In The Woods
Made In America
Large Print: One Summer
Large Print: At Home
Notes From A Small Island

Recommendations

Not Dead Yet: The Autobiography
The Princess Diarist
The Boy Behind the Curtain
The Pigeon Tunnel
Everything to Live For
The Choice
When Breath Becomes Air
Lion: A Long Way Home
In Order To Live
Not Your Average Nurse
The Man Who Climbs Trees
Life Sentence
Not All Black and White
No Place to Lay One's Head
The Fair and the Foul
Autumn
Talking As Fast As I Can
Testimony
Lonely Boy
Dadland