Jitterbug Perfume (Reading Challenge Pick for 1984)

March 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

*from Goodreads

*from Goodreads

Title: Jitterbug Perfume
Author: Tom Robbins
Published Date: December 1984
Synopsis: “Jitterbug Perfume is an epic. Which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight (Paris time). It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle. The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left.” – From Goodreads

Format: eBook (342 pages)
Date Started: January 26, 2014
Date Completed: February 25, 2014

Yes, it took me almost a month to finish the book. Not that I didn’t like it. In fact, I did. It was just a bit difficult to read. As you may know now, English is not my first language. While this isn’t usually an issue, it was on this one because it was very detailed and descriptive and some (okay, I admit it, more than a handful) words were unfamiliar to me. For example, the star of the book, the beet. I didn’t know what a beet was because it is not grown here. I had to refer to Google and Merriam several times to completely understand the book.

Mr. Robbins is a fantastic writer. I really like a lot of the ideas presented in this book. He has written several interesting theories and I recall nodding in agreement to a lot of them. This book was so masterfully written that sometimes, I stop and think that the events in the book could really be plausible. And realistically, it can’t be that. Another reason why reading it took awhile is because the book is very intricate. I wanted to really read the book line by line and not rush. I re-read parts a few times especially the theories and philosophies.

Some of the “philosophies” that stuck to me are the following:

‘The eclipse,’ said Ricki. ‘It was probably the most real thing I’ve ever seen, but it was also like a dream. You know what I mean? Real and unreal, beautiful and strange, like a dream. It got me high as a kite, but it didn’t last long enough. It ended too soon and left nothing behind.’

The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being. The difference between love and logic is that in the eyes of the lover, a toad can be a prince, whereas in the analysis of a logistician, the lover would have to prove that the toad was a prince, an enterprise destined to dull the shine of many a passion. Logic limits love.

I have one issue with the book. At the start, I felt that women were objectified. I found it a little disturbing and this tainted my overall experience of the book. My first rating of the book is 3 stars for this reason. However, I got past that and I came to really enjoy it.

My rating on Goodreads is 4 stars (for Really Liked It).

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