5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars
Not quite, 20 Mar 2012
There's the skeleton of a decent book buried in here, but because Denyse Beaulieu splinters her narrative focus between perfume history buff, obsessed perfume fan and self-proclaimed perfume madame, reading "The Perfume Lover" is an exercise in frustration instead of a pleasure.
And like other reviewers have mentioned, there's a lot of "I'm doing my sexy bit now" scattered throughout -- but it's an oddly dated and contrived sexy bit. Personal anecdotes of flirtations and affairs with non-famous men seem intended as daring and salacious, but are weak sauce for today's audience, as if Ms. Beaulieu has never read a single contemporary biography or memoir, or watched even one episode of Reality TV before setting out to write a memoir herself.
There are some nice passages about perfume through the ages, discussions of perfume as an art form, and some interesting points about synthetic perfume materials and the rise of fragrance blogging, but celebrity perfumes? Hardly a word, except to say that it's not a French phenomenon, so who cares. The new and growing influence of Chinese, Brazilian and Middle Eastern perfume consumers? Barely mentioned -- maybe because they're not European. The artisan, independent and natural perfume movement? Since it hasn't yet caught on in Paris, it may as well not exist.
While the author exhibits an engaging passion for the history of her subject matter, it's this near thorough lack of 21st century global awareness that undercuts the book's relevance, making it seem already outdated when it's only just been published.