Gonzo Girl

Gonzo Girl

A Novel

Book - 2015
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"Long after the last drink is poured and the final gunshot fired, Cheryl Della Pietra's novel inspired by her time as Hunter S. Thompson's assistant will linger in your mind. This debut novel is raucous, page-turning, head-spinning, and side-splitting as it depicts a boss and mentor who is both devil and angel, and a young heroine who finds herself tested in the chaos that surrounds him. An intense story, Della Pietra's tale about writing, firearms, psychotropics, and the pros and cons of hot tubs will suck you in and take you on ride. Gonzo Girl is a ticket you want to buy." --Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black

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.
Publisher: New York : Touchstone, 2015
Edition: First Touchstone hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781501100147
Branch Call Number: DELLA PIETRA
Characteristics: 263 pages ; 23 cm


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KateHillier Dec 14, 2015

This is a fast read. It's not even 300 pages and you want to keep reading every single one. I wasn't sure at the start - a lot of simile and metaphor that I thought was a bit excessive but that was really just a prelude to life as the assistant of Walker Reade - a fictional standin for infamous Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. The main character, Alley, is also a standin for the author. The author worked as Thompson's assistant for several months in the earlier 90s.

True to Thompson's style, this is a fictionalized version of her time and this full of drugs, drinks, and explosives. Walker runs the show and expects everyone to provide his every need and cater to his every whim no matter how insane. You're expected to party with him, keep up, and do whatever needs to be done to make sure he keeps his creative juices flowing. Very early on in the book you would think she would leave but she is sticking with it for the experience, the hope at connections, and to make something of herself.

You wonder what she's doing there and why she puts up with this when no one else wouldn't. You don't really get a definitive answer out of that but she certainly gets an experience.


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