Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has been on my reading bucket list for quite a while. I remember seeing the advertisements for the movie as a kid, but I never bothered to find out what it was about. It came up here and there, especially when I was looking for some “road trip” book to mention in a post on my previous blog, Bites of Wanderlust. In fact, it wasn’t until then that I started researching the contents of the book, and the man that wrote the cult classic. By the time I was done reading it, I came to the conclusion that Fear and Loathing is a trip, literally and figuratively, in more ways than one.
Hunter S. Thompson lived the kind of life I think most guys dream about (minus the drugs…maybe). He rode motorcycles, chased women, drank beer ; the only thing missing in his life was a permanent, on-call caterer (he may have had that, I don’t know). The story goes that the plot of Fear and Loathing is based on a real-life trip he and his attorney took to cover the Mint 400 in Las Vegas. The trip is fueled by drugs and alcohol, and the search for the “American Dream”. I don’t know if Mr. Thompson came to Las Vegas actually looking for the American Dream, but I wouldn’t doubt that the entire book was true (except for the names).
I think the most appealing thing about the man and the legend that is Hunter S. Thompson is that he, like his Dr. Gonzo and Raoul, threw caution to the wind. They ran into problem after problem, and honestly – they should have been arrested halfway through the novel, but that’s neither here nor there. Everyone may not fantasize on going on a drug binge, but I think everyone can relate to the idea to be free of responsibilities or taking a break from normal life, even if only for a little while.
A lot of people speculate on what is true and what isn’t in Fear and Loathing, but for me, none of that really matters. When I go on vacation, I’m in search of adventure. I’m looking for entertainment, and to experience something new. If I can get the same thing from reading a book, I don’t care if it’s fact or fiction..