“These poor bastards didn’t know mescaline from macaroni.”
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey into the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson.
For my complete and utter lack of exposure to drugs, I find myself certainly fascinated by drug culture, especially in literature. Perhaps it’s merely my fascination with the rambling stream-of-consciousness it tends to produce and a curiosity of how much of it is genuine brilliance or utter rambling bullshit, but I really enjoy the glimpse into the addled mind and the incredible things it can produce. There’s an urgency to the writing, a franticness that gets me wired up almost as much as I had taken the drugs myself (and I’m always left wondering just how the experience would leave me if I was all hopped up on something). Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is one of the quintessential hallucinogenic journeys into the psyche, “the best book of the dope decade,” as The New York Times Book Review states on the back cover. It’s one of those books people rave about that I finally managed to get around to reading, even if only to just say that I’ve actually read it.
Whether or not I enjoyed it is something I’m still a little on the fence about. The writing was knee-jerk and fantastic, with a voice that I enjoyed, but I’m always left feeling a little out of the loop with a book like this, since I can’t relate to it personally. It’s an objective work for me, distant and appreciated from the view of an outsider. There’s also no real strong “point” to the book (which may just as well be the point), something I like to call “Coen Brothers Syndrome,” which I don’t really mind, but it reminds me of my boyfriend always feeling so blase about the Coen Brothers movies that I love because “there’s just no point. No one learns anything. Nothing really happens.” And it’s true, nothing much really happens besides a lot of drugs and running around in the pursuit of the next high, but it’s still a fascinating glimpse into a small slice of a weekend, with a very particular character doing things that he does.
There were definitely times when Fear and Loathing got under my skin, and I suppose that right there is the point. It gets injected into your veins and lingers about like a drug might. It was a nice ride while I was on it, but, thankfully, it didn’t get me enough to leave me addicted. I was born well after the era and I’ve never been a part of the scene, but I can still appreciate the small taste of it. I just think I’ll leave the drug-fueled ramblings to those that know it much better than me.
Books read: 008/100.