Book Review: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Look below to read a review of Hunter S. Thompsons Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Random House

Look below to read a review of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter Thompson is a cult classic short novel about the experiences of a traveling journalist, Raoul Duke and his unnamed attorney in the Mojave Desert. Duke and the Attorney cross the desert in a flashy red convertible to report on the Mint 400 Motorcycle Race but along the way they encounter trouble. The two often find themselves inebriated running from hotel security, criminals, the police, or all three. After a botched trip home to Los Angeles the two find themselves headed back to Las Vegas to cover a Drug Enforcement Administration drug safety seminar. There they try their best to cover their hidden use of most, if not all, the narcotics mentioned at the seminar. Throughout the story they have many run-ins with the law that they, somehow, get out of scot free. The story culminates with a race across Vegas and a runway to make a flight back home to Los Angeles. Drug use is a common motif throughout the text, and so this novel is not for the faint of heart.

Hunter Thompson is credited with creating Gonzo Journalism, with “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” being his magnum opus. This style of writing is characterized by the author imputing their own experiences and thoughts into the story and often disregarding objectivity. The movement following Gonzo Journalism lasted from the early 1970s throughout the coming decades and left us with countless fascinating texts unlike any we had seen before. Many stories from this genre seem surreal, fast paced and completely immersive.

This tale of the most epic road trip ever chronicled is so different from any book readers may have ever read before. It is gripping and immersive, with its ability to constantly keep the reader on edge, waiting to see what happens next to the duo as they find their way through the Nevada desert. The story engrosses the reader with its absurd storyline and unique characters. It feels as if the reader is racing around the desert, panicking, looking for somewhere to stay as you try to lose the security from another hotel for not paying the bill. Some copies of the book also contain original drawings by Ralph Steadman. They add to the fantastical and awesomeness of the story by depicting some of the most important scenes.

Coming in at just over 200 pages, this short novel is an easy read for those wanting a jam-packed story without the commitment so many longer books require. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” has been popular amongst and read by the young generations for over 50 years and still maintains relevance in today’s ever-changing world.

The book has also been adapted to a movie, starring Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke, which keeps the whimsy of the cult classic at heart. Being relatively short and easy to read, this is a great book for someone wanting a riveting, funny, and whimsical read that strays from common book topics written for young people. As many young people stop reading as a source of entertainment, this book is a great way to get back into reading. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is a story which has stood the test of time as a great and entertaining read and will continue to be so for years to come.