Book reviews by D.G. Kaye
Book review,  Reading,  Reviews,  THOUGHTS

Sunday Book Review – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson

Book reviews by D.G. Kaye

As a memoir writer, I try to keep up with reading different  types of memoirs. Yes, a memoir is a memoir, but every memoir writer has their own style of revealing their stories, and when it comes to Hunter Thompson, this had to be one of the raunchiest reads I’ve come across in memoir. Although the genre specification is listed as ‘nonfiction journalism’, nonetheless it’s a memoir spanning one week, and a journalistic tale of a wild ride through the Nevada desert in a time where ‘Sin city’ surely adopted its name.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


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This cult classic of gonzo journalism is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page.  It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.

Now  a major motion picture from Universal, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.


My 5 Star Review

This book has been touted as one of the most grotesque, yet fascinating reads of the drug decade. I found it a toxic and intoxicating, and intriguing look at the author on a reckless tirade of a drug induced journey while supposedly covering a writing assignment. Thompson takes his partner in crime, his attorney at large, literally and figuratively, with him for company in this piece of absurd Americana 1971.

Five revolting and almost unbelievable days worth of stories take us into a world of drugs, delirium and disgust, yet I couldn’t help but stay captivated while taken on the wild roller coaster ride of law-breaking pandemonium with these two characters.

This book is an education on drugs, a view inside an addict’s mind at a time where most of it could actually have happened and gone unpunished. This is no literary masterpiece, but a fascinating read and regarded as one of the most infamous reads of the drug era.


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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • cindy knoke

    I listened to him speak as an undergrad at ucsd because the guys loved him and took me. He was drunk beyond belief. Incoherent. Needlessly profane, and obviously a person who did not believe his own public personae. For good reason.

    • dgkaye

      Wow Cindy fascinating little piece of history! Yes, it’s pretty unbelievable how times have changed with the media. I read this book out of curiosity and kept reading because I couldn’t believe some of the things that I was reading, lol. 🙂

  • D. Wallace Peach

    It sounds fascinating, Debby! Interesting comment from Cindy too. I had a similar experience with Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead at my college. He was so out of it, he was incoherent. That lifestyle was way to wild and sad for me.

  • balroop2013

    Deb, I appreciate your honest review and what fascinated you in this book! As I said elsewhere, each book has something to offer if we read it with an open mind. Reckless life styles are difficult to change but those who look at it or read about it develop their own insights about life. Books and movies which carry messages make a heavy reading but they are worth it…all a matter of perspective 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Balroop. It’s funny you basically said similar to what I replied to another comment: Every book may not be of interest to every person but by sharing reviews and giving some insight about a book, there is always someone who is interested. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Christy. Although I found it intriguing it’s not for everyone’s taste, but hey, that’s what sharing reviews are for – something for everyone. 🙂 xx

  • Tina Frisco

    In 1971, I would have reveled in such an escapade! I admit to being a thrill-seeker in my youth and learned many lessons the hard way. Your review is so titillating, Deb, that I’m almost afraid to read the book, fearing I’ll yearn to return to that wild and free time in my life. Perhaps when we finally make it to Arizona… I’ll be thinking of this exciting review for the rest of the day 🙂 ♥

    • dgkaye

      Lol Tina, it certainly was a different world back then. And wow, look at our spiritual and compassionate Tina back then when we were young and wreckless throwing caution to the wind, lol. I was still a kid back then with no conception of what was really going on in the world at that time. I know many parts of California were right in the thick of things with wild and free. 🙂 <3

      • Tina Frisco

        I was in New York at the time, which had its own brand of wild and free! Nearly got kicked out of nursing school. I’m sure you’d have been right by my side had you not been otherwise occupied 🙂 ♥

  • Robin O. Cochran

    I think like this about Hemingway’s lifestyle, oddly enough. Self-centered, boozing and sometimes like an idiot; but genius in other ways.
    Poor Vincent Van Gogh, another wild man.
    Not to pick on men, there were several women who came to mind when this book and movie came out. . .
    Debby, maybe women are less likely to go on a book tour and let their largesse become famously known!
    Smiles, Robin
    I liked Cindy and Diana’s true additional comments!
    Happy Memorial Day! ??

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for chiming in here Robin. I have to think that there are many writers who were caught in the world of drugs and alcohol, particularly back in the day, William S. Burroughs also comes to mind. I read this book out of sheer curiosity and as revolting as I found it sometimes, I kept on reading. I do like to read controversial works occasionally. 🙂 Glad this got your commenting, and Happy Memorial Day to you to my friend. <3

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    If we were all the same.. Life would indeed be bland.. The Book cover would have warned me off lol.. Interesting to read comments of those who knew of him and similar types..
    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on this read Debby..
    Wishing you a great week ahead.. <3

    • dgkaye

      Lol, it seems that many here feel the same way. I was more curious than anything to read this book and since I always review books I’ve read I thought I’d share this one here too. I know it won’t appeal to the masses but it’s been interesting hearing some of the feedback. 🙂

      • Marsha

        It doesn’t seem that most of your readers would like the book from the comments. I have a really hard time reviewing a book I don’t like, I mean love. I don’t want to insult them, but I also don’t want to be dishonest to my reader. It’s tough. Boy I’m sleepy and I have to get up in almost 5 hours, so I’m going to bed. 🙂

        • dgkaye

          Lol, Hi Marsha. I did notice that quite a few here admitted they didn’t think they would like the book. I read it out of curiosity, and as I do with all books I read, I review them and like to share them here. I happen to be fascinated by lifestyle and politics in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and as this book is claimed as a classic piece of Americana I was compelled to read it. The subject matter isn’t pretty, yet I was engrossed keeping me reading to the end. There’s something for everyone and not every book is going to appeal to everyone. If I read a book that I rate poorly, I won’t share a review here on my blog. 🙂

  • Sarah Brentyn

    I’ve heard of this but never read it or even seen the film. Maybe one day but, really, there are so many books ahead of it. My TBR pile is ridiculously huge but full of books I want so badly to read. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it I need to get some more reading time in.

  • Aquileana

    Sounds like an excellent book. I am so into Lana del Rey that I just thought of a few songs by her, as I read your review… High by the beach, for instance! 😀
    Thank you for sharing this one, dear Debbie… I just googled Gonzo Journalism, BTW… (“Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative”: New to me!)
    Sending love & best wishes. Happy week <3

    • dgkaye

      HI Aq! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. This is definitely a different type of reading, exactly why I was drawn to reading it. No, it’s not for everyone’s taste due to the gritty subject matter but I too was curious to read it because of the style it was written in. I’m glad you can appreciate why I felt compelled to read this book. My question is, if Thompson was always on the move and always stoned out of his mind, how on earth did he write the book? LOL 🙂 Big hugs to you my friend. xoxo <3

  • Norah

    Hi Debby. Thanks for your review. I feel a little enlightened. If I add the book, and movie, to my list though, I think it will be way down. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      No worries Norah. Like I’ve mentioned to a few people here, the book may not be for everyone. I just like to share reviews on books I’ve read because usually there is something for everyone. Sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me. 🙂

      • Norah

        I do that sometimes too. I often say we need to be eclectic in our choices, and not just read books containing ideas that confirm our own. Sometimes we need our ideas to be challenged, and sometimes we just need to see things from another’s point of view.

  • Luna Saint Claire (@Compelled_Books)

    Ah Debby! You have hit on a book that inspired me! I love the darkness in Fear and Loathing. A memoir by definition is nonfiction, and I was not able to do that with The Sleeping Serpent. I wrote as autobiographical fiction but my book contains a similar affliction that is accompanied by painful angst, abuse, and addiction. Fear & Loathing shows the inescapable suffering of the soul that drives the afflicted to self-destruction. Thank you for digging this story out of the basement! And your comment above, “not for the faint of heart” is what many have written about The Sleeping Serpent!

    • dgkaye

      OMG hi Luna!!!! I’m so glad you stopped by and left your comment. I do think you’re the only one who has the interest in this book here besides me, lol. I can totally understand that because I’m a creature of sticking to genres I prefer myself but I’d heard mention many times of that book while reading about Thompson and his life so naturally I was curious because I love memoirs in all topics. Although a grueling read at times I was truly fascinated.
      And as for your book, did I mention I’m in the midst of reading it? Wow! What an intense book! I want to smack Nico in the head and Sofia for being so subservient to him. I’m only 40% through the book so Luna is just about looking ripe to fall prey to him too.
      I have to ask you, you say it’s fiction but a) I’m not sensing it’s all fiction and b) why did you name Luna after yourself? Inquiring minds want to know, lol. 🙂 <3

  • olganm

    I agree with you, Debby that there are some books that made an impact and are representative of a time and they add to our understanding of the era (however much or little we might have in common with the authors or their approach to life). I’m sure I’ve read the book years back but I can’t remember much about it (perhaps the intoxicating effect?) other than I thought he was a skilled writer. Thanks for the reminder!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for chiming in Olga. I too think he was a skilled writer and yet I can’t help but wonder how on earth he wrote that in his drug induced state. Even if he perhaps wrote it after when he may not have been under the influence, how on earth would he have remembered all that while in a haze? Just another fascinating fact about that book. 🙂

  • Liesbet

    Interesting read. My emotions would probably fluctuate between disbelief and disgust. Yet, that would not be a reason to not read it. An open-mind helps for everything! I saw the movie way back when, but have never read the book. Thanks for the insight.

    • dgkaye

      I know, many people have reservations about this book but all the more curious for me to read. I saw the movie years ago an don’t think it was as intense as the book. 🙂

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