• Stories I Tell Myself

  • Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson
  • By: Juan F. Thompson
  • Narrated by: Juan F. Thompson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (286 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 17 on a bogus petty robbery charge; member of the US Air Force (airman 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 41 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 barstools, 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....

©2015 Juan Thompson (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Stories I Tell Myself

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Hunter Remembered

Hearing Juan retell life with his father Hunter S. Thompson was a roller coaster ride of bone chilling and heart warming recollections.

I knew Hunter in the early to mid 90's as he was going through his polo phase. Juan's portrayal is spot on with my memories- with the added benefit of a lifelong relationship as sole child of this complex and endearing, larger than life, character.

One of the unique opportunities that The Listener gets to experience is the similarity of Juan's voice to his father's in tone and cadence.

If you ever wanted to know what life with The Real Hunter S. Thompson was like- listen to Stories I Tell Myself.

Condolences and congratulations to Juan on surviving and thriving this unique voyage.

7 people found this helpful

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Great portray of an Adult Child

Juan Thompson's book was a healing story of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. The alcoholic just happens to be the brilliantly wild Hunter S.. The story had great rhythm and I followed it with ease. Juan is a miracle, it's a miracle that he survived his childhood and became a stable adult. He seems to of healed throughout the years and this book appears to me to be a continuation of that healing. Great stories - a must read!

5 people found this helpful

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Not good...

Celebrating the life of a terrible father because he was famous. Hunter S. Thompson was a brilliant writer, no doubt about it. In this, his son writes about him and his life as an alcoholic, drug addict, self centered rebel. Juan does not have his father's talent for writing and frankly, I'm not sure why he wrote this book. Oh, wait...I guess he made money off of my purchase! Save yourself the time and just google Hunter S. Thompson and read his books. You will thank me.

4 people found this helpful

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Father and Son

An honest and thoughtful look at the love between a father and son. I now feel like I understand better why Hunter decided to take his life.

4 people found this helpful

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It only makes sense his son would be great.

Hunter Thompson will (to me at least) be one of the most interesting figures of the 20th century. Despite his Raul duke persona being so infamous, the truth about hunter has always been a little muddy.

This book changes that and also introduces us to another person worthy of our interest for his ability. And also has a tremendous story to tell.

The fact that Juan reads this himself, makes what would have been an interesting read all by itself, a very intimate and compelling experience. This is, real talk folks, one of the top 5 audiobook experiences I've ever had.

3 people found this helpful

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loved it

Well written, great narration, loved the book. I will watch for more books by this author

2 people found this helpful

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A little boring

Well read but too in awe of a man who really I did not find as fascinating as a one who was selfishly living his life overshadowing his poor child and his long suffering wife. I really could not get past half way. Too much awe, too much praise for a mediocre writer no one knows anything about

2 people found this helpful

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Gonzo Life

Fantastic story about life behind the scenes of Hunter S. Thompson! I always wondered what he was like as a father and how his son viewed him and this shares just that.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Liked the author, disliked his father.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

So-so on this being time well spent. Like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, this is an autobiographical tale of a child being raised by dysfunctional, abusive, neglectful, addicted parents, and that child's recovery from and eventual understanding of the experience. In this case, the author, Juan, grew up in the shadow of an illustrious, charismatic but unstable and often verbally cruel father. Juan's writing is excellent, as is his narration. However, just a few chapters into his book, I found Juan's famous father to be a horrific person. His literary accomplishments do not excuse the man in any way. Not that Hunter S. Thompson required anyone's approval, though he certainly demanded attention. I couldn't give this book more than three stars, as my dislike of Hunter S. Thompson was quite intense after I finished the book.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I think Juan overly lionized his father after his death. Some degree of co-dependency going on, or wishful thinking, perhaps.

Have you listened to any of Juan F. Thompson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I am not aware of any other works Juan Thompson may have narrated. He did a great job with this autobiographical work.

Did Stories I Tell Myself inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

Just a plea to parents to be kind, attentive and reliable with their children. I'd love it if books such as this--another story of severe dysfunctionality--became a rarity.

1 person found this helpful

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Expectations unfulfilled but well-read

I liked this book from the start. Juan reads his own material very well. I'll admit I read it hoping it would inspire me to read more HUnter S Thompson. But it did not. Quite the opposite. And about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through, I grew impatient with the story line which was about Juan grappling with did his dad really love him. And gun cleaning. Way too much attention was paid to gun cleaning. Juan definitely was the one to read his own story, though. He did a good job.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-01-22

Incredibly touching!

I absolutely loved this book.

Other than giving a new perspective on Hunter S. Thompson, this book also tells an incredibly touching story about the relationship between (a quite extraordinary) father and son.

It is well written and narrated by Juan himself.

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  • Colin Balzli
  • 10-28-17

Not what I expected

If you’re expected something as funny and crazy as hunter s Thompson’s own pieces, this will leave you disappointed. If you’re hoping for a different viewpoint on the life of hunter then this might be for you

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  • Hell T
  • 09-27-16

Great

Found Juan to seem to sigh through it a little, like he was bored of reading it but a great insight into HST.

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Profile Image for Killian
  • Killian
  • 04-01-16

Just as tangibly interesting as assumed.

Very interesting to hear about HST from a source that doesn't see him as either a lunatic or a god. It's not written in the style of Hunter but it would be foolish and wrong to assume it would be. Saying that, it is well written. Being very much influenced by his works, it is fascinating to hear more about the man himself.

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