Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Perfume by Caroline B. Cooney

Welcome to the 8th installment of Summer of Fear,  a weekly series of posts where I will review/revisit a classic YA Horror/Thriller from the 70s-90s. This week I read The Perfume by Caroline B. Cooney which was originally published in 1992. 

When fifteen-year-old Dove Daniel’s friends discover the new perfume called Venom, they become infatuated. They have Obsession and Poison; now they simply must have Venom. When they discover it’s available at Dry Ice, the coolest store in the local mall, they rush over after school. But to Dove, Venom seems inexplicably terrifying, as does the store that carries it. If she breathes in its potent scent, she is sure something terrible will happen. At first whiff, she senses something primitive and dark. Once she’s inhaled the scent, she begins to feel something . . . different . . . and her heart beats in double time. What has Venom’s bite awakened inside her?
I am a huge fan of Caroline B. Cooney’s book The Face on the Milk Carton and all the books in the “Janie” series. Prior to reading The Perfume last night, I hasn’t read any of her horror novels. This book is extremely well written but also bizarre. I couldn’t tell if was a commentary on what it may be like to have a mental illness such as Dissociative Identity Disorder or if Dove is truly possessed by an evil Druid spirit.  My heart broke for Dove in the beginning when she first starts to hear and respond to the voices in her head and thinks “she decided against describing what was going on inside her skull. The world did not sound sympathetic.” Ultimately Dove’s workaholic distracted parents take her for mental health counseling at a facility full of the worst bad stereotypes of mental health clinics which was truly horrifying. The resolution is also abrupt. 


Have you read The Perfume? Please share if you have, I’d love for some feedback as I’m still trying to process this book myself. 

The Perfume is currently physically out of print but is available as an e-book. Click on the publisher link above for ordering information. I borrowed my copy through Kindle Unlimited. 

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