Author: Hunter S. Thompson
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. (from Goodreads)
Thoughts: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a book told as if it is an autobiography by Raoul Duke, the narrator. A journalist living in Los Angeles, he is assigned to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race held in the desert outside of Las Vegas. With his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, and a red convertible full of drugs and alcohol, he covers the race in a drug induced haze and, later, covers The National District Attorney’s Association’s Third National Institute on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs also taking place in Las Vegas. Through the mist of it all they search for the American Dream, consume a truly astonishing amount of drugs, and party in Vegas to such an extent that it is almost impossible to believable.
The novel is loosely based on two trips that Thompson with an attorney to Las Vegas as a journalist, including being present for the National District Attorney’s Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. A large part of the novel blends Thompson’s own experience with the on-goings of his characters; this blending of fact and fiction has come to be known as gonzo journalism, presumably after Dr. Gonzo.
Unfortunately for me, this novel failed to hit the mark. A lot of this novel consists of the characters taking drugs, hallucinating, and participating in increasingly outrageous behavior at the expense of unsuspecting locals and tourists. My main complaint isn’t the drug use, which seems to occur for no reason other than to simply take drugs for the sake of taking drugs, instead my main problem is with the characters themselves. There seems to be no redeeming qualities whatsoever in either of them.With their constant lying and tricks they play on passerbyers, I disliked them more than I liked them. The last straw was about two-thirds through the book with what happened with Lucy, Dr. Gonzo for his actions, and Duke with his uncaring response on hearing what occurred and the disgusting suggestions about her he tells Dr. Gonzo about. By the end of the book I ended up hating them and thinking ‘what was the point?’ about the entire story. Maybe Thompson’s point is that there is no point, I don’t know. But what I do know is that, for me, this book left me feeling flat and empty, and not in a good way. The lack of this book evoking any emotion in me except confusion, disgust, and dislike was disappointing. However I am still glad that I read it as it seems to be fairy popular and well-known. If anyone has read this book and enjoyed it, could you tell me what you liked about it?
If you’ve read this book, what are your thoughts?