For Christmas, my father and stepmother wanted to get me and my sister each a “big” gift. Wary of the possible connotations of this meaning, I hesitantly gave them my Christmas list, which included a life size gummy bear, a hot pink Barcalounger, or a Kindle. On Christmas morning, my gorgeous sister received a pearl necklace (no laughing, pervs); I, in turn, got my Kindle.
Now this is not a review of the Kindle – although I can say briefly that I do enjoy and love it dearly. Classic novels are available at no cost, numerous books are trapped in one little piece of technology, and the best feature is that when I shout, “Bring me a book now, bitch!” it delivers whatever choice selection I pick.
This is an informal book review. I won’t pretend to be an expert at extracting fine details of a novel and forming a cohesive thesis about its meaning and underlying tones. I will leave that to the pros. This is to review a book that has given me pleasure and delight. And perhaps someone out there will be tempted to read it as well.
The first book I selected of 2011 was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. Knowing very little about the book, Hunter S. Thompson, and having never seen the movie, I was determined and excited to go into this reading blindly.
I had voiced my concerns and excitement to my cousin Kathy and she egged me on with this, “…you would love the book. It has a lot of undertones about how Thompson felt about the 60s ending, like how the era of changing the world was giving way to indulgence and ignorance. Even though there’s lots of drugs and weird stuff, it’s all symbolism of the times. Read it!!!”
Kathy, I hear your three exclamation marks and I raise you two more. Besides, she had me at “weird stuff” and “60’s” and I promptly spent the $8 to download.
I read the novel in about 10 days.
I wasn’t sure what to expect and approached the book cautiously. And I must admit, I wasn’t too keen on it for the first three chapters. The writing was a frenetic energy that I appreciated yet couldn’t get into the groove of the odd characters. Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo were a crazy/cool combo and a bit scary. One of those homeless-or-not? people you see on the street and let follow you home.
It was almost as if you got tossed right into the madness.
But then midway through the book, I began to feel the love. I wanted to go deeper. The writing style pulled you into the characters and the time period. You’re not sure what’s real and what’s imagined.
The amount of downers and uppers they took baffled, amazed, and delighted me all at once. I giggled, I sighed, I squirmed. I could practically feel their drug addled brains working hard to focus and wondered how they survived their Las Vegas trip without eating each others’ faces off.
Hunter S Thompson’s writing style was very different from most I’ve read. It was as if he didn’t care – he just wrote and put down his thoughts without pretension. While reading Fear and Loathing, I researched Gonzo journalism and the thought that popped into my head, “Isn’t all journalism Gonzo-style?” I fail to find objectivity in many of the news stories I come across. Which is why I stay away from the local news and tend to read the “Weird News” reports my mother continues to send me. I find stories about a No-Eared Cat Who Looks Too Much Like Voldemort to spice up my day instead of Baby Jessica fell into a Well.
But I digress.
This review has gone on far too long and I’m sure you’re all sleepy. Me, I’d like nothing better than to spoon on my couch and fall asleep like a baby ocelot.
And so, I shall leave you with some of my favorite quotes; quotes that spoke to me during the reading.
This – and I come full circle back to the Kindle – is a feature I adore. The ability to bookmark favorite quotes and make your own notes.
I heart this whole heartedly.
Let’s do the giggle, sigh, and squirm rating system on these quotes:
“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only real cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas.”
“History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time – and which never really explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.”
“Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit.”
“What sells, today, is whatever Fucks You Up – whatever short circuits your brain and grounds it out for the longest time possible.”
“And it was probably someone like Leary who told him, with a straight face, that sunglasses are known in the drug-culture as “tea-shades”.”