Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Hunter S. Thompson    
Vintage Books
1998, 204 pgs

Book Summary from Goodreads
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.

My Summary
I could really summarize Fear and Loathing in a similar manner to The Road. 
Man and Lawyer get high on LSD.  Man and Lawyer have paranoid episode. Man and Lawyer get high on ether. Man runs from cops who aren’t really chasing him, etc, etc.
I’m going to have to retract a few things a said in my review of The Road, because Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas doesn’t have a plot or character development.  It's a rambling, long weekend acid trip to Las Vegas.  I didn’t love Fear and Loathing, but I felt like reading gave me an experience that I never would have had otherwise.

I’ve never tried drugs (I’ve actually never smoked a cigarette), but reading this book is the closest I’ll ever feel to being on them – and from that I’ll just say “No thank you”.  I felt the narrator’s paranoia and mania.   Hunter S. Thompson uses/invented a writing style referred to as “Gonzo”.  It’s almost a stream of consciousness that puts the reader in the mind of main character and it’s effective.

It’s not a hard read, but it’s not something I could fly through because I could only take 10-15 pages of paranoia at a time.

My Rating
Rating this is a struggle because if I rate it purely from an enjoyment of reading perspective it’s probably a 5.  But rating it taking into account the original writing style and the effectiveness at making the reader feel like they are living what the writer is would warrant a 9.

Splitting the difference – 7 out of 10 stars


  1. I actually really enjoyed this book, though it's been a few years since I read it. My husband is a huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson, so he insisted I read this. There's a lot that sticks out in my memory from this one... mainly the terror of the whole thing (ack, the bathtub scene). It also has one my favorite quotes ever in it:
    “History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.”

    Glad you got to read it-- more for the experience than the enjoyment!

  2. I'm really glad I read it too. I'm also glad I waited a couple months to review - a little perspective was needed for me to put this on paper.

    That is a good quote - I should have included a few because he had several great ones.