Before I flew down for vacation, one of my superiors and I were talking about how much I love going to Vegas. I told her I was heading down to the city that never sleeps for 4 days with a couple of friends from middle school. She responded with a “You like to go to Vegas a lot, huh?”.
Guess what, boss? Guilty. As. Charged.
This trip was extra, extra special. Not only was it one of the boy’s first time, BUT it was the first Book Nerd vacation I got to take!! And of course, my book adventure for this little jaunt was….
*Drum roll please……*
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, of course!
When I started researching books that are set in Vegas, Fear and Loathing immediately popped up. Mind you, this is one of my sister’s favorite movies, but I ZERO idea it was based on a book. I was a little skeptical. I read some reviews (thanks, Goodreads!) and bought it on the spot.
I was not disappointed. Not in the least. Not even at all.
I hardly know where to begin because this book is completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I don’t even know if there is another book in which I can use as a reference point, so I won’t.
I was sold on page 11 with this quote:
“My blood is too thick for California: I have never been able to properly explain myself in this climate”
-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Guess what narrator man, I have felt these exact same feels while living in California. This place is f***ing hot compared to my home base in Oregon. From that sentence on, I hung on every word.
I can hardly begin to describe how elated I am to branch out of my go-to genres AND love the book I read!
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty:
I give this quick read 4.5 stars. Just short of 5 stars because the novel felt incredibly disjointed at some points… which is what happens when a narrator is strung out on every stimulant known to man. Even with the occasional disjointedness, it flows so well.
That small caveat aside- I LOVED this book. Easily one of the fastest reads to date. I fell in love after the first page and could hardly put it down.
If you’ve read Fear and Loathing (and if you haven’t, I hope you soon will), you’ll know that a majority of the book takes place at the Flamingo…. which also happens to be where my friends and I stayed!! On page 106 Thompson dives into a scary accurate description of what staying in the Flamingo is like. A maze, and haze, of booze-filled and smokey hallways.
Reading Fear and Loathing made it easy to attach my personal, and wild, memories of Las Vegas over the years. I mean, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Right?
The book cuts between scenes with such a ferocity that I had a difficult time putting it down. 50 pages flew by in a second. The imagery of the binges were vibrant. You feel Raoul’s emotions. If he’s nervous, you feel a little bit on edge. Thompson’s ability to drag you in is astounding.
Like I said before: what I love most about this book is how completely out of my element is is. Fear and Loathing is from the early 70’s. It’s basically an auto-biography. Up to this point I’ve avoided that genre like a bad sickness.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Stepping out of your comfort zone for reading is good (even if I immediately came back from Vegas and started reading another Stephen King book)
- Reading a book and then visiting the setting is amazing.
- I am ready to read more Thompson.