Thin Line Between Stupid and Clever

Opining on Whatever

Have You Read The Rum Diary?

I recently found out that one of my favorite books, The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, is getting turned into a movie.  The film will star Johnny Depp, a friend of the late Thompson, and I expect it to be pretty good.  But, since great books don’t always make the transition to great films, even when talented actors are involved, I suggest you read the book before seeing the movie.  (Even though it’s annoying to hear, you have to admit that about 90% of the time, books are much better than their movie counterparts.)

The Rum Diary was written in the early 60’s , but curiously not published until 1998, and was based on Thompson’s own experiences as a young writer in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1960.  He was just 22 years old when he wrote The Rum Diary.  That’s important to keep in mind when you’re reading it, because it was his first and only “true” novel.  (I know he actually wrote another novel, Prince Jellyfish, but it hasn’t been published yet, so I don’t count it.)  Although Thompson is best known for creating and perfecting the genre of Gonzo Journalism with such classics as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing: on the Campaign Trail ’72,  The Rum Diary gives you a brief glimpse as to just how talented he was as a fiction writer.  Now keep in mind, I’m not saying this book is one of the greatest literary achievements of the 20th century; it’s not All Quiet on the Western Front or In Cold Blood, but it is well-written, thoughtful, and entertaining.  If you’re a fan of Hunter S. Thompson’s trademark humor, his bizarre-but-honorable sense of morality, and his scathing, brutally honest critical tone, then you’ll probably enjoy The Rum Diary.

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