Monday, April 14, 2008

Review: "Fearing and Loathing in Las Vegas"

If you haven't noticed, I've been into reading gambling and/or Vegas based books lately. A few days ago my son and I went to the book store. He picked up "The fat cat sat on the mat" while I bought a copy of Hunter S. Thompson's "Fearing and Loathing in Las Vegas." I'm not sure where to begin my book review on Thompson's 1971 book.

Thompson's story starts off with him, the Doctor of Gonzo Journalism, and his attorney buying up every type of drug possible for their road trip to Vegas. I won't even list them out, but the supply included everything from hash to ether. Their goal is to find the American Dream. Yet, even after reading all 200 pages, I'm not sure what American Dream they were looking for.

The first half of the book is them getting stoned and drunk while covering the Mint 400 desert race. From what I can gather, the extent of their coverage was watching a few desert hoppers fly off into the dust. They then headed back to the hotel bar to continue the binge.

About halfway through the book, the lawyer goes back to L.A. and the doctor decides to split town in the Red Shark. But on the way out of Nevada, the doctor ends up calling his attorney who reminds him that they are suppose to meet at the Flamingo for the District Attorneys' Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The irony here is actually enjoyable. Here you have two strung out druggies attending a conference with over 2000 cops and lawyers. The rest of the story is them using more drugs and alcohol.

Should you read the book? I'm not sure. It's just over 200 pages so the investment is small. Yet, the book is so arcane that you have to be pretty patient and understanding to get through it. Here is my recommendation. Ready Hunter S. Thompson's Wikipedia page. If you find his life interesting, they check out the book. If you find his life not worth your time (which I can understand), then skip over any of all his writings.


Scooter said...

You could just watch the movie with Depp. I felt it captured a drug-induced hallucinatory experience accurately.

David said...

Its Thompson with a P.

Scooter said...

Will he be changing his name to Thompson-Reuters?

Mac Noland said...

Thom"p"son has been fixed. My apologies to any druggy I've offended.

Scooter, are you proposed a name change to "Hunter Thompson-Reuters?"

David said...

Mac Said: Yet, even after reading all 200 pages, I'm not sure what American Dream they were looking for.

I haven't watched the movie for quite some time *and* I haven't read the book.

However, I do have an opinion :)

As I remember, the story is really a commentary on the "hippie" culture and how they felt they were doing to change the world, all while getting stoned. Some, like the guy who invented LSD, claimed that using the drugs themselves brought you to a "higher" or intelligent state of mind, which could change the world.

I feel he was basically staying, while drugs may be fun, they lead to madness. I believe near the end Johnny Depp has a long commentary on the broken "American Dream" (read hippie culture and ideals).

Mac Noland said...

I can't disagree.

Another idea would be that Dr. Duke felt that no matter how stoned he was, he could get away with anything. Like when he drove across the airport tarmac (and back) to drop his attorney off for a flight. The guy basically got away with everything possible.