Genre: Non-fiction/Fiction, Gonzo journalism, Drugs, semi-autobiographical

Notes: This is a movie starring Johnny Depp, and I haven’t seen it, but something tells me he would be great at playing a drug-addled journalist searching for the American Dream.

Review: Drugs.  Drugs times a billion. Uppers, downers, booze, cocaine, weed, acid, anything you can think of.  This book is one giant drug trip through Vegas.  Which, clearly, the right place for an epic drug trip.

For anyone not familiar with Hunter S. Thompson, let me explain.  Thompson is a legendary journalist.  He is the Barney Stinson of journalism.  He pioneered a new form of journalism he called “gonzo” journalism.  In his mind, the only way you could accurately report a story is to experience it and write about the experience as it happened.  He did not think reporters should view everything from a lens, removed from the story.  Granted, even this doesn’t give a completely accurate representation of the story because people have inherent bias, but it allows the reader to understand the feeling of a story, instead of a dry list of facts.  Granted, in real life, Hunter S. Thompson was probably batshit crazy (supported by the fact that he committed suicide in 2005) but he was still a freaking genius.

Oddly enough, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas did for me what Requiem for a Dream did – made me never want to get completely twisted on drugs.  I mean, Fear and Loathing does have a powerful element of beating the system and sticking it to the man, but the stuff they see is scary!  Thompson describes powerful hallucinations of a woman having sex with polar bear, lizard people eating regular people at a bar, and a hotel worker morphing into a moray eel.  While all this is going on, Thompson is theoretically on assignment to cover a dirt race, the Mint 400, in Vegas as well as a Drug and Narcotics convention for cops.  Clearly, the assignment only provides background music and a reason to be in Vegas completely destroying hotel rooms and ringing up insane bills.  The story really centered on Thompson and his lawyer using drugs and not sleeping for days.  He uses different names for his two main characters, Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo, but most critics have pegged this book as a semi-autobiography, because Duke so clearly emulates Thompson.

Bottom Line: It’s a good read, I can’t lie.  It’s weird, focuses on Old Vegas, and give readers a glimpse at an era gone by.

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