What I found here was what I expected, but did not find with On the Road. In this case, however, the writing was quick and powerful, like a long-awaited title bout where the champ goes down in the second round.
Its first appearance was as a serial in Rolling Stone in 1971 and was so well-received, it was adapted to book format. This was a book I didn’t expect to enjoy, but its distinctive style and pace were hard to resist.
Thompson portrays himself as Raoul Duke, a drug obsessed journalist with little regard for his or anyone else’s well being. The story is based on actual trips to Las Vegas, first to cover the Mint 400 and then to an attorney’s drug conference. Thompson’ drug references are so excessive that it is clearly meant for exaggeration. His character’s good taste in music and disdain for certain politicians reflected Thompson’s own opinions.
Dr. Gonzo is the representation of Oscar Zeta Acosta, an attorney and activist. Another drug crazed maniac, he goes along with his travelling companion’s outrageousness and does so with sheer pleasure. Intimidating at times, this is a man I’d keep an eye on.
What a great road trip this would be…perhaps down old Route 66. For reasons of self-preservation, I would settle in to the driver’s seat and hope Mr. Thompson would share a tale or two. Perhaps he’d enlighten me on his in your face Gonzoesque writing techniques.
My rating for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an 8 out of 10.
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