Book Review: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

The last book I read for 2013 was Hunter S Thompson’s well-known book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I must be one of the few people on this planet who have not ever seen the film starring Johnny Depp, so didn’t really know what to expect going into this apart from the vague things I had heard – that Hunter S Thompson was the godfather of gonzo journalism, and that the book told of his drug-addled adventures in Las Vegas where he was covering a car race of some kind. And so, I wasn’t quite sure what would await me as I turned the pages.

I wanted to completely love this short book, but, while I had a few laughs as I read it, some parts felt slow to me, and other parts just repetitive. I get that he was taking as many drugs as possible, and that was just what he did, but the constant craziness within each chapter and his long drug-fueled nights just left me exhausted, as if I was experiencing all the comedowns and hangovers for him.

I have read and heard many reviews which discuss the sadness within the book, as it reflects on all the flower-power and idealism of the 1960s which had so much potential and didn’t last, so I wanted to get beyond the over-the-top nature of the book and really love it, but in the end, for me, it was just ‘okay’. I’m not sure if it’s because the book is a little dated, whether it’s because this book and its representations of the treatment of women didn’t sit well with me, or if it’s because it’s just not my style (or a combination of all of these things) but I was glad when the book was over. I felt like I could breathe again, and return to more ‘relaxed’ reading.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson – 3 out of 5 stars.


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