welcome to bat country: reading fear and loathing in las vegas

Hello lovely Red Chair Readers,

I’ll start off this week by saying this book is not for the faint-hearted or weak-stomached.

If the idea of gushing blood, violent reptiles, projectile vomiting and drug-induced psychological breakdowns does not appeal to you, or worse, offends or repulses you, then Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is not the book for you.

I’ll be honest, this book wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Not to say it was poorly written, but simply, the topic matter didn’t relate to me.

As someone who has had little to no experiences with drugs, the book was confronting and shocking. At the same time though, I felt this shock value was inherent in the book and not totally my context as a reader, the novel being aimed at shocking and startling its readership.

The book is actually wonderfully written and the imagery and descriptions are vivid. At every stage throughout the book, regardless of what your experiences with drugs have been, the prose captured the essence of each drug experience and the character’s trips as he and his attorney navigate their way through the dangerous streets of Las Vegas.

Thompson takes you on good and bad trips with him, explores the hallucinations and states of psychosis and the violent emotions and urges, all without covering up the negative aspects nor idealising the enjoyable aspects.

The book is essentially, as all creative non-fiction should be, a truthful recounting of events using the literary techniques of fiction. It doesn’t recreate moments to reshape the perspectives or representations, it simply presents the subjective truth of that moment.

Despite not connecting to the subject matter, the book was still easy to read. Each chapter is only about five to six pages, creating bite sizes chunks that make the reading process quick and maintains the pace through the book.

My publication of the novel also included illustrations which also worked to break up the book. But again, if confronting imagery disconcerts you, they may put you off the book.

I appreciated the bite seized chunks and illustrations in the book as it gave the reader breathing space between each of the events. This was especially valuable after the more confronting scenes of the book in which a little space and a step back is much appreciated.

Again, this was something I appreciated due to my lack of experience with drugs and my difficulty relating to the subject matter.

 

From the friend who now knows what to do on a bad acid trip,

The Cat

 

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4 comments

    1. What was it about the movie that put you off? I’ve only seen snippets of it but from what I’ve seen I don’t think I would’ve been able to sit through all of it either.
      Thanks 🙂

      1. Haha, I don’t remember; it was a while ago. If I recall, it was hallucinogenic in nature and slow going. But again, I could be totally off. I think I’ll stick to the book, especially thanks to your review.

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