“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”
Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re having a relaxing Friday. I was planning on reading three books this week, but I only managed to read one book, because you know life gets in the way sometimes and you can’t do anything about that. Anyway, Perfume is a classic book that’s originally written in German. So many people have recommended this book to me, so I got it from my local bookstore, which was on sale. Lucky me I guess. Without further ado, let’s review this book!
This book takes place in France in the eighteenth century, and it follows the story of an orphan man named Grenouille, who was born with an exquisite sense of smell. The weird thing is that he has no scent of his own, like any human being, and he can’t even smell himself no matter how much he tries. He can recognize the scent of any object in the room and describe it. And on top of all that, he has the ability to recall any scent he has ever smelled. Later on, he becomes an apprentice for a perfumer named Baldini, and from this moment, his skill of creating scents develops better than before. One day, he comes across a young girl who has a unique scent that he’s never smelled anything like it before. After a couple of days, he kills the girl so he can keep as much of her scent as he can. However, Grenouille’s obsession with scents will make him question his self identity, and change his entire life.
I’ve never read any book like this one before. It literally blew my mind. The concept is very original, and thought provoking. The writing style of the book was brilliant, and so vivid. And the way Grenouille was describing everything he smelled made me feel like I was smelling the book while reading it. It’s one of those books that hold your attention from the first page. Also, this book gave me mixed emotions. And let me tell you that this book isn’t just about nice and wonderful scents. Throughout the story, Grenouille also describes how bad the streets smell, and the way women and men smell gross and disgusting all the time. Now let’s talk about Grenouille.
The beginning of the book was morbid. Grenouille has so much hatred towards humans, and his hatred increases a lot throughout the book. It’s like he lost hope with humanity, and he wants to do nothing with them, or even be around them. I think that because he grew up with a lack of affection, and he never experienced love in a healthy way, or any kind of relationship, which is really odd. From the moment he was born, nobody wanted to keep him, because he didn’t smell like normal babies. There was something off about him. And he was treated like someone who didn’t matter. Everyone ignored him and feared him. But, the only thing he had was his ability to compose any scent he has ever smelled. His skill is beyond comprehension, and he knew he had to take advantage of it. I’ve got to say that I hated/loved his character at the same time. He’s thoughtless, evil, and he has this pathological, and twisted side to his personality, which gave me the creeps. But, he knew how to take advantage of his own remarkable skill. I like his persistence and tolerance to work for other people, so he can train himself, and gain some experience when it comes to creating phenomenal scents. The first half of the book was really good, but then his quest to take hold of unusual and perfect scents depended on killing female teenagers in their sleep. I kid you not, the way he killed each girl gave me nightmares. While he was doing it, he had no sympathy whatsoever, and he only cared about himself. His striving for greatness wiped his feelings completely. Since he is scentless, he wanted to create different scents for himself, so he could manipulate people by each scent he pours on himself. I know it sounds crazy and terrifying. The end of the book was insane. I didn’t see that coming.
The book leaves you with many things to think about. Like whether our feelings towards each other, or the choices we make are unconsciously based on scents. It’s surely an interesting theory. The book is very graphic and disturbing. If you’re someone who can’t handle those kind of books, then don’t pick it up. But, if you like bizarre and spell binding books, then I definitely think you’re going to like this one. It’s a page turner, and the perfect book to read during the winter.