Friday, November 09, 2012

Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, by Jann S. Wenner and Corey Seymour

Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson: An Oral Biography, by Jann S. Wenner and Corey Seymour

Hunter S. Thompson was a very strange person. A writer of undeniable talent, but strange nonetheless. This book is a collection of interviews stitched together in a single narrative. Hunter's life brought him into contact with a wide slice of life, so while many accounts are told by the expected family and friends, people as varied as Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Carter, Jack Nicholson, and James Carville contributed as well. Considering that one of the authors, Jann Wenner, was Hunter's editor for over thirty years, the overall attitude towards Hunter was surprisingly negative. Admittedly Hunter was a lifelong drug and alcohol abuser which rarely makes for pleasant personalities, but I'd always thought he was more of a lovable character like Doonesbury's Uncle Duke for whom Hunter was the inspiration. Looks like that isn't so. "The thing about those unpleasant nights is that they didn't end. The unpleasantness wasn't a quick outburst." "For those of us who worked with him, it was essentially a really abusive relationship." "He demanded such an extraordinary amount of loyalty, commitment, and energy, and although he paid back a lot of that, he just sucked people dry." But basically he just comes off as crazy. "My first job was to get Hunter up in the morning. I knocked on his door, and there was a long, loud eruption of curses. ... It was just the life force announcing itself through Hunter's early-morning self." "And damn if he didn't raise the gun and fire from the hip and blow the door frame out that I was standing about six inches from my side." "When I had left the year before, Hunter had thrown my clothes out onto the driveway and set fire to them." This does not sound like someone with whom I'd want to spend a lot of time.

I'll never be a huge Hunter S. Thompson fan, but I did enjoy reading about him.

First Sentence:
We had guns in our cars.

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