Reader reviews for The Rum Diary: A Novel

This is a mediocre semi-biographical novel about a very ill tempered, drunkard of a journalist. The whole book is just a content battle with jealousy, treachery, violent alcoholism and lust but this book doesn’t really move very fast and seems to feel like it drags way too much. I was expecting something exciting but the plot seemed to drag on and while hinting at a plot this book never really took off. Maybe as a movie it would be cut down enough to make a plot but as a book this seemed to drag on way too much.
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Thompson is easily among my favorite writers. This is his first novel. The influence that Hemingway had on him are no clearer than when examined according to this text. Thompson would later distort the title of the specific work that "The Rum Diary" is so obviously based on, employing the clever pun "The Scum Also Rises" as a title to a journalistic, political tirade. In other words, and in terms of classroom application, students would have no trouble comparing this text with "The Sun Also Rises," a more traditional novel.
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This is the Thompson that few people know. He's basically trying out his wings here, writing what could be a lost novel by Hemingway. In a lot of ways, comparable to the band Rush's early career, when they were basically a Led Zeppelin sound-alike.
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Very fun and interesting read.
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The Rum Diary is my favourite of all of Thompson’s writings; it also stands at the top as one of my favourite fiction titles ever. What I find so likable about this book is its realism. It tells the very simple story of Paul Kemp, a completely regular guy who wades his way through the problems of a regular life, as he interacts with other regular people, in a tediously regular town--1950s San Juan, Puerto Rico. Now, of course I use the word “regular” in the Hunter S. Thompson sense--which is usually a far cry from “normal.” There are still plenty of interesting aspects to the setting, and to all of the characters in this book.This book is very different from Thompson’s most famous work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While I am sure there are some autobiographical elements to the character of Paul Kemp, Thompson has created a very likable fictitious character who struggles his way through a mundane job at a San Juan newspaper, The Daily News.While some may find it a fault, what I love most about this book is the simple straightforward story of its simple straightforward characters. If only Thompson had written more books like this--and to think, this one came close to never being published! That would have been a shame.
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Hunter S Thompson is a beautiful disaster. His work reflects his life, a wild ride from start to finish. The Rum Diary was my first Thompson novel. I found it on the beach on vacation in Florida and I read it from cover to cover. It is a story of Paul Kemp, a journalist hired at an English newspaper in San Juan. As the Newspaper slowly folds, Kemp learns about himself and his line of work. Through drunken incidents, jealous glances at a coworkers girlfriend, jaded lunches, and brutal fights Kemp realizes it is time for him to grow up and become something more than himself. This is another book that could be a little controversial to teach, but the message is clear and meaningful. The writing is excellent. It is both painful and powerful to read, sometimes both at once. Much like A Clockwork Orange, this is a growing up story without the preachy, everyone learned a lesson ending.
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I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't as fantastic or polished as his later works.
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This work transcends all the negative comments and criticisms of his other works.
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A far more accessible piece of writing than "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas;" I'm not sure which I prefer - Thompson as he is here, human and frail and in love in a foreign and exotic country, or Thompson when he's so far gone on drugs that it feels like I'm trapped with his characters in some sci-fi alternate reality.
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my favourite of all thomson's work. If only he did more work like this. What a waste.
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