The Kitchen Readings
Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis
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Buy *The Kitchen Readings: Untold Stories of Hunter S. Thompson* by Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis online

The Kitchen Readings: Untold Stories of Hunter S. Thompson
Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis
HarperPerennial
Paperback
304 pages
February 2008
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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What emerges over and over in all the books on Hunter Thompson released posthumously is the portrait of a mean-spirited, selfish, insensitive writer who thought just a little bit too much about himself. Here, close friends Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis share their experiences with Hunter and write about the moments when other people were in his company.

Because the authors were such intimate friends of the late Gonzo writer, they tend to whitewash some of these vignettes. Still, you can't escape the reality that the good Doctor had a mean heart and a twisted sense of right and wrong.

There is the story of a neighbor's cat wandering onto Hunter's property and being "riddled with buckshot."

"As usual Hunter admitted nothing" about knowing what happened to the cat. "He had absolutely no idea what she [Fiona, the cat's owner] was talking about."

There are several stories where Hunter actually fired guns at his friends and then laughed about it. Here is a paragraph from one of them:

"Hunter fired from the hip. The blast tore a four-inch hole in the doorframe, twelve inches from Wayne's thigh. Wayne bolted for the porch, grabbed the girlfriend, and ran for the car. Hunter gave chase."
Here is another excerpt from a different story:
"Dick was on the opposite side of the room, standing in the door to the garage, about fifteen feet away. In between, Andy was kneeling down, building bookshelves under the picture windows. Hunter was casually chatting away. Just as casually, he raised the gun. Suddenly the room exploded. Rapid fire in a small, enclosed area. Those things are not indoor toys. Shooting from the hip Hunter ripped a series of holes in the picture windows directly above Andy Hall's head. Andy was not amused, not even a bit. Describing Andy's reaction, Carter used the term apeshit. Andy was flattened on the fire engine-red carpet, his head covered, screaming with rage. He had served in the military. All of this was terrible etiquette."
Inevitably, the writers never require Hunter to own up to his deeds. They never call him on his craziness (certainly they'd never say it to his face), and even here, with an opportunity to address Thompson's craziness, they shy away from it. That is the main downfall of this book and just about every other homage that has been written about Hunter. No one wants to confront the reality: Hunter S. Thompson was not a nice man.

There are some fun stories here, and certainly the writers knew Thompson about as well as anyone - even if they are unwilling to pull off the mask.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2009

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