Hunter S. Thompson, "smart hillbilly"; boy of the South; born and bred in Louisville, Kentucky; son of an insurance salesman and a stay-at-home mom; public school-educated; jailed at 17 on a bogus petty robbery charge; member of the US Air Force (airman second class); copy boy for Time; writer for The National Observer; et cetera.
From the outset, he was the wild man of American journalism, with a journalistic appetite that touched on subjects that drove his sense of justice and intrigue, from biker gangs and 1960s counterculture to presidential campaigns and psychedelic drugs. He lived larger than life and pulled it up around him in a mad effort to make it as electric, anger-ridden, and drug-fueled as possible.
Now Juan Thompson tells the story of his father and of their getting to know each other during their 41 fraught years together. He writes of the many dark times, of how far they ricocheted away from each other, and of how they found their way back before it was too late. He writes of growing up in an old farmhouse in a narrow mountain valley outside of Aspen (Woody Creek, Colorado, a ranching community with Hereford cattle and clover fields)...of the presence of guns in the house, the boxes of ammo on the kitchen shelves behind the glass doors of the country cabinets, where others might have placed china and knickknacks...of climbing on the back of Hunter's Bultaco Matador trail motorcycle as a young boy, and father and son roaring up the dirt road, trailing a cloud of dust...of being taken to bars in town as a small boy, Hunter holding court while Juan crawled around under the barstools, picking up change and taking his found loot to Carl's Pharmacy to buy Archie comic books...of going with his parents as a baby to a Ken Kesey/Hells Angels party with dozens of people wandering around the forest in various stages of undress, stoned on pot, tripping on LSD....
He writes of his growing fear of his father; of the arguments between his parents reaching frightening levels; and of his finally fighting back, trying to protect his mother as the state troopers are called in to separate father and son. And of the inevitable - of mother and son driving west in their Datsun to make a new home, a new life, away from Hunter; of Juan's first taste of what "normal" could feel like....
We see Juan going to Concord Academy, a stranger in a strange land, coming from a school that was a log cabin in the middle of hay fields, Juan without manners or socialization.... Going on to college at Tufts; spending a crucial week with his father; Hunter asking for Juan's opinion of his writing. And he writes of their dirt biking on a hilltop overlooking Woody Creek Valley, acting as if all the horrible things that had happened between them had never taken place, and of being there, together, side by side.... And, finally, movingly, he writes of their long, slow pull toward reconciliation....
©2015 Juan Thompson (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
Very interesting to hear about HST from a source that doesn't see him as either a lunatic or a god. It's not written in the style of Hunter but it would be foolish and wrong to assume it would be. Saying that, it is well written. Being very much influenced by his works, it is fascinating to hear more about the man himself.
Hearing Juan retell life with his father Hunter S. Thompson was a roller coaster ride of bone chilling and heart warming recollections.
I knew Hunter in the early to mid 90's as he was going through his polo phase. Juan's portrayal is spot on with my memories- with the added benefit of a lifelong relationship as sole child of this complex and endearing, larger than life, character.
One of the unique opportunities that The Listener gets to experience is the similarity of Juan's voice to his father's in tone and cadence.
If you ever wanted to know what life with The Real Hunter S. Thompson was like- listen to Stories I Tell Myself.
Condolences and congratulations to Juan on surviving and thriving this unique voyage.
"Great portray of an Adult Child"
Juan Thompson's book was a healing story of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. The alcoholic just happens to be the brilliantly wild Hunter S.. The story had great rhythm and I followed it with ease. Juan is a miracle, it's a miracle that he survived his childhood and became a stable adult. He seems to of healed throughout the years and this book appears to me to be a continuation of that healing. Great stories - a must read!
"Father and Son"
An honest and thoughtful look at the love between a father and son. I now feel like I understand better why Hunter decided to take his life.
"Unabridged and read by the author who lived it!!!!"
Juan thompsons truth
Juan THompson sells himself short as a writer, he really grasps the intimate details of growing up with HST. He has his dad's flair for expressing the didactic nature of an experience more than just listing the bullet points.
I'll listen to anything he does
I found myself staring off with a smile in quite a few places. It's rare an audio book can captivate you like that.
Worth every penny
"Liked the author, disliked his father."
So-so on this being time well spent. Like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, this is an autobiographical tale of a child being raised by dysfunctional, abusive, neglectful, addicted parents, and that child's recovery from and eventual understanding of the experience. In this case, the author, Juan, grew up in the shadow of an illustrious, charismatic but unstable and often verbally cruel father. Juan's writing is excellent, as is his narration. However, just a few chapters into his book, I found Juan's famous father to be a horrific person. His literary accomplishments do not excuse the man in any way. Not that Hunter S. Thompson required anyone's approval, though he certainly demanded attention. I couldn't give this book more than three stars, as my dislike of Hunter S. Thompson was quite intense after I finished the book.
I think Juan overly lionized his father after his death. Some degree of co-dependency going on, or wishful thinking, perhaps.
I am not aware of any other works Juan Thompson may have narrated. He did a great job with this autobiographical work.
Just a plea to parents to be kind, attentive and reliable with their children. I'd love it if books such as this--another story of severe dysfunctionality--became a rarity.
"Expectations unfulfilled but well-read"
I liked this book from the start. Juan reads his own material very well. I'll admit I read it hoping it would inspire me to read more HUnter S Thompson. But it did not. Quite the opposite. And about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through, I grew impatient with the story line which was about Juan grappling with did his dad really love him. And gun cleaning. Way too much attention was paid to gun cleaning. Juan definitely was the one to read his own story, though. He did a good job.
"A little boring"
Well read but too in awe of a man who really I did not find as fascinating as a one who was selfishly living his life overshadowing his poor child and his long suffering wife. I really could not get past half way. Too much awe, too much praise for a mediocre writer no one knows anything about
"Great book I couldn't put it down"
Juan is not Hunter, don't expect him to be. An intimate view of a legend.
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