Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter S. Thompson
Updated: Jan 6, 2019
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."
What a great opening line, and then it continues to the wildest paragraph that I have yet to read in a book until now.
"The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-coloured uppers, downers, screamers, laughers...and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls."
What?! How is it possible that this book was even published! Ha so trippy! Let me stop and tell y'all what this book is about.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson is one of the 20th century's cult classic books and movie too. It follows two main characters Raoul Duke and his Samoan attorney Dr. Gonzo on this savagely wild and strange weekend road trip to Las Vegas to find the American dream. Whatever that may be. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was first published in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971, then went on to be a book published in 1972 and was very controversial and outrageous. It also features some amazing illustrations by Ralph Steadman. It delves into the mind of Hunter S. Thompson and what he makes of the collapse of the American dream, told through various narcotics and confrontations with bartenders, police officers through a drug enhanced mind. He also focused on the political climate and culture in the 1960/70s. It was actually based on 2 trips that Hunter took with his real life attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta in March and April of 1971. Their journey had resulted in Thompson spending 36 hours 'feverishly writing in his notebook' thus creating Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.
I like to change up my reading list so this was definitely a wild card and boy was it wild!! I hadn't actually heard of this book before but I vaguely knew there was a cult movie about it starring Johnny Depp and that about was it. That movie was based on this book by Hunter S. Thompson and according to my hippie friend Chris, it was the book of his youth. Apparently it was massive especially during those days where all sorts of drugs were floating around and the political climate was on the iffy side with Richard Nixon in power, which Hunter makes very clear in this book about how he felt about him. Hunter was pretty famous for not liking the guy. I did not truly know what I was delving into, just that it was about drugs lol so when I read the first couple of chapters it totally blew me away, I was like- what am I reading here? Haha it's so freakin' wild. I mean how in the world this book got published is beyond me, but it's pretty damn impressive. This book is the epitome of cool, sex, drugs and rock n' roll. I could only imagine the hype behind it when it was first published. I quite enjoyed reading it, even though at times I was like, wow what the hell am I reading. it's definitely a thrilling book to read. If you want to add some edge to your reading list be sure to add this to your collection. Also the fact that it's a cult classic and was 'the' book to read for rebellious youths in the 70s then I'd say that's a good enough reason to read it, and it's got some bitchin illustrations to go along with the stories, who doesn't love picture books!
The author Hunter S. Thompson was an interesting person. Definitely not your average author. He had a troubled life, and was known for his longtime use of alcohol, narcotics his love for firearms, basically he was a rebel. He was a journalist and founder of 'Gonzo Journalism' which meant that the writer essentially becomes a central figure and participant in the stories. Meaning that they are a part of the story and not just an anonymous person writing about the story, which is what most journalism styles were like back in those days. He basically revolutionised this style of writing and led his life in that way. I think that's pretty cool. He died by suicide at age 67, his wishes were that he wanted his ashes to be fired out of a canon. Which is what happened, his funeral was attended by his friends including John Kerry, Bill Murray, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson and more at his funeral, they had wrote this about him...
"The true voice of Thompson is revealed to be that of the American moralist....one who often makes himself ugly to expose the ugliness he sees around him."