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Black Agency
Published by
Touchstone (2015-07)
Current material
MS: Complete Unedited
Original language
English
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GONZO GIRL

by Della Pietra, Cheryl

GONZO GIRL is a commercial “Hunter S. Thompson’s assistant” roman à clef--a funny, slightly dangerous, ultimately sweet book about being the assistant to a drug-addled fading literary legend. An unlikely coming-of-age story by debut author Della Pietra.

Everybody knows and/or fears Walker Reade, New Journalism pioneer, choleric exposer of hypocrisies, bullet-headed-Aviator-shaded debunker of American innocence. For two decades, Reade’s Aspen compound, pungent with sulfur and hash, was the blunt-flame drawing aspiring journos, parasitic magazine editors, drug dealers, former politicos, and actors desperate to amplify their edgy credibility.

Into this restive debauch stumbles 22-year-old Alley Russo, the eponymous GONZO GIRL of this breathlessly fun debut novel. Chafing for a glamour occupation to transcend her working class roots, Alley lands a dubious position with one priority: get Walker to his Selectric by 2AM and don’t leave until he’s clacked out a page of his latest novel. Then read it and fax it to his editor in New York.

That single page is the mandate, but the lesser job requirement is to “Stop saying no.” Walker doesn’t tolerate party poopers, so the daily swath to the typewriter might include scotch, tequila, platters of coke to manage moods up, bud-stuffed pipes to even them out, acid tabs to swirl them around, a love affair with a dreamboat hanger-on, firearms as sport and menace, and profligacy on a scale commensurate with his reputation but also, perhaps, compensation for a waning talent and diminished significance. Alley’s responsibilities as gonzo amanuensis evolve, unbeknownst to Walker, into restoring to his prose the voice that electrified two generations of vicarious thrill-seekers and political cynics.

GONZO GIRL is the barely masked roman à clef of author Cheryl Della Pietra who fictionalizes (just a bit) how fast and furious her 3-to-2 job working for Hunter S. Thompson and his acolytes truly was. (She thought of calling it “I Was Told There’d Be Guns.”)

A longtime New York City magazine editor, writer, copy chief, and copy editor, Cheryl has published numerous stories in such magazines as Marie Claire and Redbook. A feature-length article about her experiences with Hunter was selected by Writer’s Digest for one of its annual “best writing” compilations. As a result of her 15 years in magazines and publishing, she has deep relationships with editors from dozens of publications and media outlets—all of which could prove beneficial upon publication.

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