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Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2016
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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 seventeen on a bogus petty robbery charge, member of the U.S. Air Force (Airmen 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 forty-one 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 bar stools, 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 . . . of Juan’s marriage and the birth of his own son; of watching Hunter love his grandson and Juan’s coming to understand how Hunter loved him; of Hunter’s growing illness, and Juan’s becoming both son and father to his father . . .
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Format:
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Street Date:
01/05/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101875865
ASIN:
B00RRT33VA
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Juan F. Thompson. (2016). Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Juan F. Thompson. 2016. Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up With Hunter S. Thompson. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Juan F. Thompson, Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up With Hunter S. Thompson. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Juan F. Thompson. Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up With Hunter S. Thompson. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: JUAN F. THOMPSON was born in 1964 outside of San Francisco, California, and grew up in Woody Creek, Colorado. He graduated from Tufts University and lives in Denver, Colorado, where he performs computer magic in the healthcare IT industry. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and his son, Will.

      • name: Juan F. Thompson
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title
Stories I Tell Myself
fullDescription
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 seventeen on a bogus petty robbery charge, member of the U.S. Air Force (Airmen 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 forty-one 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 bar stools, 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 . . . of Juan’s marriage and the birth of his own son; of watching Hunter love his grandson and Juan’s coming to understand how Hunter loved him; of Hunter’s growing illness, and Juan’s becoming both son and father to his father . . .
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: -Loren Jenkins, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting
      • content:

        Excitement for Juan Thompson's STORIES I TELL MYSELF "A journey of love and forgiveness . . . a portrait of Hunter as a human being, funny and fearful pages filled with drunk, smoky evenings, famous friends and admirers, extensive travels and financial uncertainty." -Alex Norcia, Salon "A calm book about a wild man . . . A careful yet harrowing account of an offbeat childhood, and of a father-and-son relationship that grew very dark before it began to admit hints of light . . . The author evokes his life in the shadow of his looming father as if he were telling a sinister fairy tale." -Dwight Garner, The New York Times "The stuff of legend . . . Astounding . . . Unsparing yet forgiving and affectionate." -Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic "Moving and fascinating . . . A sensitive depiction of a fraught father-son relationship . . . Engaging . . . Adds depth and color to our understanding of Hunter S. Thompson." -Michael Lindgren, The Washington Post "Stories I Tell Myself provides an intimate and unflinching look at the private life of one of the most distinctive--and funniest--writers and public personalities of our time. Even those of us who were close to Hunter can learn from it." -Timothy Ferris, author of The Science of Liberty "Rounded . . . Very satisfying." -Library Journal "Turbulent but exciting . . . Shows clearly the occasional horrors of living with a substance-abusing celebrity but is also suffused with filial love and regret." -Kirkus "A tender but tough tale of growing up as the son of the fearsome, charismatic and unrestrained writer, Hunter S. Thompson. At the peak of his career, Hunter was a terrifying and neglectful parent, wreaking all kinds of damage on his family, but as his talent waned he learned to be a dutiful father, and doting grandparent. All of this is observed acutely in painful and loving detail, in a book that will be seen as an essential piece of the Thompson history and also in its own right as a classic memoir of growing up weird." -Jann Wenner, co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone "A most difficult tale, beautifully and movingly told . . . narrated with such warmth and style it makes this more than just another book about Hunter, but a most passionate exposition of the always difficult relationships between father and sons. Bravo."

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        October 1, 2015
        The son of the legendary gonzo journalist recalls his turbulent but exciting years swimming in the wake of a most mercurial creature. Thompson fils identifies himself only as a "computer guy" in this debut, and he comments early about the unreliability of memory. He also warns us that his account includes some "outright lies," but which tales are they? The author, born in 1964, embraces chronology and begins with a sketch of his father's youth (he calls him "Hunter" throughout). He also asserts that his father was "one of the great American writers," so we understand what sort of museum we're visiting. The author does not smooth over the rough fabric of his father's life: he was smoking, drinking, and taking cocaine virtually to the end. He was temperamental, ignored his son often, and enjoyed numerous women. But he loved the outdoors, shooting (he would kill himself with one of his pistols in 2005; the author found his body), and, of course, writing. The author shows us a hardworking writer, dedicated to his craft. Thompson pere did not, as the son reminds us, take more than a few college courses and told his son that the only thing college was good for was having four years to read. (This author, fond of the remark, quotes it three times.) There are many "daddy issues" here, as well, and the author tries to convince us that the birth of Thompson's grandson]though initially a tough thing for him to accept]became a tremendous influence on the family coherence that ensued. A few celebrities wander through]notably, singer Jimmy Buffett and film star Johnny Depp, who portrayed Thompson in the film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Shows clearly the occasional horrors of living with a substance-abusing celebrity but is also suffused with filial love and regret.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2016

        "This is a memoir, not a biography," writes the author and son of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson (Hell's Angels; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), and he means it. The younger Thompson's fast-paced book hews closely to chronological memories of his father and his childhood and adolescent home on "Owl Farm" in Woody Creek, CO, rather than delving deeply into the elder Thompson's life or his notorious works. The author keeps his father--whom he calls "Hunter" throughout--at some distance, and sees in him a sharp duality. Hunter, "that beast in Aspen," is an "alcoholic, drug addict, and a hell-raiser," prone to eruptions of anger and rage. In the end, though, the author ultimately finds tenderness and understanding in Hunter, sometimes in the very things that made his father wild, such as his guns, the cleaning of which "became a bonding ritual between us that lasted up until the day of his death." VERDICT Thompson fans seeking intimate and precise details of his writing process or creative life will want to look elsewhere. Here they will find a touching and honest portrait of an often flawed father. [See Prepub Alert, 7/13/15.]--Doug Diesenhaus, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        August 1, 2015

        Want an insider's view of Hunter S. Thompson, whose over-the-top sensibility, hunger for bald truth, and distinctive way of delivering not just news but news process gave us gonzo journalism? Look no further than this memoir from his only son, who portrays a father both idealistic and irresponsible from whom he was sometimes estranged. Rounded out with insights from friends like Jann Wenner, Bill Murray, and Johnny Depp.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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An intimate, close-up portrait of Hunter S. Thompson, fearless outlaw journalist, "avenging proxy for the American polity," whose manic first-person articles and exposés, so interwoven with the getting of the story, gave rise to gonzo journalism (gonzagas: "fooled you"; bizarre). A portrait of the man: writer, brother, husband, manic searching soul who grew up with the times he inhabited, and in part created; a portrait most of all of the father: the alcoholic, drug-fueled, charismatic, irresponsible, idealistic, sensitive man, by the son who lived through it all and thrived to tell the dangerous, complex, loving tale.

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 seventeen on a bogus petty robbery charge, and, in exchange for a reduced sentence, U.S. Air Force, Airmen Second Class, and radio technician trainee, later copy...
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Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson
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