David's Reviews > Jitterbug Perfume

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
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's review
Dec 12, 2009

really liked it
Read in December, 2009

This was sort of a tough one to get through for me. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Jitterbug Perfume is Tom Robbins’ fourth novel. The book includes several major themes like the act of striving for immortality, the meaning of the sense of smell, the importance of sex, the power of love and the dangers of religion. It is also a self-described epic, with four story lines - one set in 8th century Bohemia and three others in modern day New Orleans, Seattle and Paris.

Each story line borrows from the local culture. One of the main ideas of the book is that the sense of smell is of primary importance because it is the sense that we use to hold our memories. There are many attempts to create the perfect scent, and part of the book is a race to develop the ultimate perfume. I came out knowing a lot more about perfume than I knew before I started Jitterbug Perfume.

I really enjoyed the story set in 8th century Bohemia. It is a tale of King Alobar, who avoids being murdered by his own subjects and begins a long trek through time and across the planet in order to obtain immortality. The descriptions of what Alobar and his partner do to practice living simply are very intriguing.

Jitterbug Perfume was gifted to me from my cousin last Christmas. She wrote in the book that she had read it at my age and really enjoyed it. The book was written pretty well, but some parts were really dragged out and a lot of it didn’t jive with me. I am glad that I started my Tom Robbins reading with Another Roadside Attraction. While I love obscure prose, there were some parts of Jitterbug Perfume that I think should have been deleted by the editor. I would definitely advise reading it, but it might be okay to skip any potentially boring parts.
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Reading Progress

10/19/2009 page 202
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