Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Jitterbug Perfume

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
83445
's review
Jul 19, 09

bookshelves: bookclub, fiction, novel, speculative-fiction, reviewed, aaalt
Read in July, 2009

The library gave me a musty, beat up hardcover edition with a missing dust cover. I’m so visually oriented that in order to better enjoy the book I printed out pictures of both the hardcover and a paperback cover too.

I really struggled while reading this book and it took me forever to read it.

I enjoyed the main love story and liked the parts that take place in ancient Bohemia much better than most of the modern era portions.

While I was reading I felt as though I was reading a series of different stories. I felt that the plot disintegrated toward the end as the author seemed to go from writing a speculative fiction novel to a combination of philosophy, science, political, and health/longevity treatise, but not in a particularly interesting or compelling manner, or with enough accuracy either. The very end did bring all the parts together, and I suspected that it would. I think that the author tried to do too much with this novel; it was as though he was working out for himself some of the mysteries of life, but not in a way that entertained or enlightened me. Parts were brilliant but for me the whole was not.

I did find interesting the main theme of avoiding death, of the search for immortality. Immortality, perfume/smell/odor, and beets, yes beets, are the main subject matter of this novel. The god Pan makes an interesting appearance.

However, I found it long and rambling and at times irritating and annoying. It was a strange book. It’s hard for me to evaluate it given what was going on in my life while I was reading it. At another time I might have appreciated it more or been even more peeved by what I consider its flaws.

I do think it can make a good book club selection though, and I did read it for my real world book club; there’s some interesting material for discussion, especially regarding the ramifications of immortality.

Edited a day later: I just downgraded this book a star. Despite moments of brilliance and many interesting parts, at best it was just an ok book for me. I struggled through it and wouldn't have finished it had it not been for my book club. While I liked the author's ambition, I didn't really like the book enough to give it 3 stars. I couldn't even be bothered to write a long, thoughtful review because I didn't want to extend the experience.
3 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Jitterbug Perfume.
sign in »

Reading Progress

06/20/2009 page 1
0.29% "Well, I guess I'll start this book next, Monday or before then."
06/23/2009 page 7
2.05% "Weird, but interesting and with some beautiful sentences. Perhaps I can enjoy this."
07/01/2009 page 19
5.56% "Gosh, I haven't had time to read so I'm barely into this. Hmm...have some Trader Joe's beets at home. Maybe I should eat them as I read! ;-)"
07/13/2009 page 171
50.0% "It's been ages since I've gone through a book so slowly, but I am enjoying it."
07/15/2009 page 233
68.13% "I'm taking forever to read this. Must finish by Sunday."
07/18/2009 page 254
74.27% "I've never been so down to the wire reading a book for my real world book club meeting, which is tomorrow afternoon. I'll finish it though."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Lisa Vegan Blech. Got a library copy beat up and without a dust cover, but it's this edition.


Phil James Nice. One of my favourite books and definitely the best of Tom Robbins.


Jason This is such a a phenomenal book.
I envy those who get to approach Robbins for the first time. I've been thinking about re-reading them for a while now.


Lisa Vegan Phil and Jason, Oh so good to know. I know nothing about it. I've read only one of his books and that was years ago. I'm reading it for my real world book club for our July meeting.


back to top