Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

Begun in 1959 by a then-twenty-two-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery and violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean boomtown that was San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. Exuberant and mad, youthful and energetic, The Rum Diary is an outrageous, drunken romp in the spirit of Thompson's bestselling Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hell's Angels.

My take: 2 looks
Now a major motion picture starring Johnny Depp. Well, "major" may be a bit overreaching, since it stayed in the theaters maybe two weeks.

This book is exactly what it says it is" day in and day out of a man who moves to Puerto Rico in the 1950s and lives the hedonistic life. No cares, no ties, no responsibilities. Just booze, sex, a job when he feels like it, and life on the cheap. However, mixing with the locals prove to be a bit of a challenge, but not as much as the other ex-pats in the area.

It was entertaining, but any longer than 204 pages would have been too much. The fact that he is supposed to have influenced a number of contemporary writers, but I can't really see anything extraordinary about his characters (really, just caricatures of personality traits in the typical man: violent, unstable, drunk, sex-crazed, a little psychotic) or his prose (first person told in straight chronology) or the setting (typical 1950s Puerto Rico). One review I read called it "rambling source material" for a movie. I thought this to be quite perfect.

I probably won't read more by this author.

Not recommended.

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