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Read this: Gonzo Girl

Jul 21, 2016


Have you read anything good lately? 

Although there isn’t much I love about being in a middle seat on a 6 hour flight, it is one of the only times in my life I’m actually able to sit down for an extended period of time to read a book! 

(I almost forgot what that feeling felt like!) 

On the way to and from Pairs, I managed to finish my latest read–Gonzo Girl (not to be confused with Gone Girl) in about 4 hours flat. 

It’s fast-paced, intriguing, but light enough to be the perfect summer (or trans-atlantic flight?) read. While it’s fiction, much of it is based on the authors very similar first-hand experience as a 22-year-old assistant for famed author, Hunter S. Thompson (also known as the father of Gonzo Journalism). You often find yourself second-guessing which parts are real and which parts are fiction. 

The story follows the main character, Alley, from her post-graduation, waiting-for-my-life-to-start phase of life working a prestigious, yet unpaid internship by day and bartending to make ends meet by night.

She jumps at the chance to interview for a position with her favorite author–Walker Reade–in his secluded Colorado ranch, only to find he’s a cocaine addicted, chain-smoking, alcoholic party animal who requires more of a babysitter than an editorial assistant. Regardless, she accepts the job, and adopts an “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude and doesn’t look back. 

Alley quickly finds that her job–her only job–is to get Walter to sit down at his typewriter at 2am and write a minimum of one page. Outside of these hours, her job was to have fun and roll with the punches. She slowly earns his respect by never turning down even the craziest of ideas, and ends up implementing a few of her own–a decision that undoubtedly changed her career forever. 

Curious? Here’s the full synopsis: 

Alley Russo is a recent college grad desperately trying to make it in the grueling world of New York publishing, but like so many who have come before her, she has no connections and has settled for an unpaid magazine internship while slinging drinks on Bleecker Street just to make ends meet. That’s when she hears the infamous Walker Reade is looking for an assistant to replace the eight others who have recently quit. Hungry for a chance to get her manuscript onto the desk of an experienced editor, Alley jumps at the opportunity to help Reade finish his latest novel.

After surviving an absurd three-day “trial period” involving a .44 magnum, purple-pyramid acid, violent verbal outbursts, brushes with fame and the law, a bevy of peacocks, and a whole lot of cocaine, Alley is invited to stay at the compound where Reade works. For months Alley attempts to coax the novel out of Walker page-by-page, all while battling his endless procrastination, vampiric schedule, Herculean substance abuse, mounting debt, and casual gunplay. But as the job begins to take a toll on her psyche, Alley realizes she’s alone in the Colorado Rockies at the mercy of a drug-addicted literary icon who may never produce another novel—and her fate may already be sealed.

A smart, rollicking ride told with heart, Gonzo Girl is a loving fictional portrait of a larger-than-life literary icon.

Have you read Gonzo Girl yet? What did you think? 

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