The book started off interesting, with a catalog of drugs in a car with two guys heading from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Thompson is hallucinating about bats, very large bats. Then they pick up a hitchhiker and freak him out with their paranoid talk – or were they talking out loud? Once at Las Vegas they go from hotel to hotel abusing people, staff, customers, inanimate objects, themselves. It goes on in this vein the entire book.
In honesty, I never got into the drug scene, though I did more than my fair share of alcohol in college. Some of the things in this book, I understood (such as the lack of interest in things and people going on around you except in relation to your addiction of choice) while other things I just did not get (like the range and depth of mental alteration brought on by the drugs). With that said, I did not particularly enjoy this book though I do believe it captured the essence of drug addiction taken to the edge. In particular, there is reference to the lawyer picking up a young woman, taking her back to his room, inviting her to enjoy a mix of drugs and alcohol, and then using her for sex. While the scene itself is never covered in depth, the reaction by the lawyer and Thompson – dodging any kind of responsibility for harming another being, on purpose, for pleasure alone – pretty much got the point across. The only thing you care about are the drugs/personal pleasure – and it is the same for anyone else hanging out with you.