The Rum Diary

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The Rum Diary The Rum Diary, by Hunter S. Thompson focuses on a writer, Paul Kemp, who finds himself in Puerto Rico in the 1950's. He comes from America to land a job writing for a broken down newspaper. He figures you can do worse than writing on a tropical island. To this, his colleagues suggest he should have kept flying south. His coworkers are a lively bunch of degenerate alcoholics, picking fights with picketers, cops, and the boss.

Kemp is at the age of 30 and isn't quite sure if he is getting older and wiser, or just older. He came to Puerto Rico trying to find new ground to tread. A routine begins to ensue which consist of mostly drinking, violence, and paranoia. After a few months Kemp has gotten a car and an apartment on one of the many bad parts of town.

One day while visiting one of his new coworkers, Yeamon, who lives on a beach in the voodoo country, he runs into a girl named Chenault.

He remembered her from the flight from New York to Puerto Rico. She's beautiful, naïve, and Yeamon's old lady. Having made the impression of a crude abuser of the elderly, she isn't to impressed. The two become acquaintances.

One weekend Kemp, Yeamon, and Chenault decide to go visit another island for Carnival and they proceed to join the festivities. They make their way from clubs to the street to more clubs, dancing between drinks. Finally Kemp and Yeamon find Chenault stripping to the nude for some drunken natives in a club. Before Paul or Yeamon can get themselves beat to the floor, Chenault has already been snatched away.

As the book progresses the atmosphere becomes suffocating. Paul finds more and more reasons to flee the island, maybe...