Pardon me for a quick moment while I pick my jaw up from the floor.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is one of the most detailed, grotesque, entrancing, and captivating stories I have ever read in my entire life. I came into this text somewhat blind, but also as a big fan of the movie. My main hope with reading this book would be that some of the things from that movie would make more sense — and they sure did.
The story follows along with on Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who exudes no scent of his own but can smell everything with more clarity than anybody else in the world. The amount of different scents is intoxicating to him — especially when they come from virginal girls.
After a series of unfortunate events, he lands himself at the mercy of a perfume maker who’s being put out of work by other shops producing better perfumes than he. Jean-Baptiste offers his services to one Giuseppe Baldini, who teaches him everything he needs to know about the distillation process. That process, Grenouille discovers, leaves out a few key areas in capturing scent. He believes anything can be captured, but Baldini tells him he’s incorrect.
How wrong they both were.
A period of sickness leaves Grenouille with a new vigor and vitality: He must learn how to preserve scent, at any cost. The rest of the story covers the remaining half of the book’s title as it becomes the Story of a Murderer who is… much more intense in the book, for those of you familiar with the film.
All in all, I give this an easy 5/5. Apart from some of the subject matter, it’s not very graphic apart from just being very detailed. Everything else I have to say is going to have to be covered in the spoilers section :).
Okay, my biggest issue from the book-to-movie comparison (even though that’s not what this really is) was that the movie never went over the fact that he didn’t really exude any scent of his own. There was the section of the movie where he couldn’t smell himself, but that didn’t come across that NOBODY could smell him.
In the book, that part also made some sense and added a lot to his characterization because it was discussing the idea that none of us can smell ourselves. In my chapter-by-chapters, I mentioned how our noses get used to the smell of our soaps or deodorants and how changing those is so noticeable at first. It really did add a lot to his character because him not having a scent of his own made him almost invisible to the outside world.
But that’s how he got away with all these damn murders.
In the movie it’s like, “Okay, he’s smart, but how does he do this?”
So that was a MAJOR missed opportunity in my opinion. The movie left out stuff that added so much to the plot and the characterization, and the stuff they left out would have made all the confusion and questions from the movie nonexistent.
Like why in the hell everybody went and had an orgy at the end.
Doing that as a punishment made some sort of weird and twisted sense, especially when we consider all the God talk that happened during Baldini’s section.
Grenouille got off on controlling other people, on making them do whatever he wanted to just by controlling their use of scent. The perfume itself makes a lot more sense, too, as to how everyone is so attracted to him from it — because that perfect scent is the only thing he can show them. Otherwise, he is invisible
But that becomes his biggest problem.
He can’t connect with other humans the way he wants to.
He can’t ever love, and even using the pleasure of multiple sexual partners as a punishment isn’t enough to change him. That’s why he ends up letting the masses just eat him all up, because he can’t figure out another way to connect with the people of the world.
All in all, I think this was a solid and beautiful book, if not a little shocking and grotesque at some points. Far better than the movie, that’s for DAMN sure.
The Chapter by Chapters
Oh, my God.
That is definitely a very different experience than when I tried to read this when I was in college. That was so descriptive in the beginning. I understand a lot more about at least the birth of Jean-Baptiste. That was so gross. to listen to. And I’m…
My mouth is, like, dropped open, and I can obviously envision the same scene from the movie of his birth, and I always tell people that that is the most grotesque scene, because just the whole premise of the story is so gross with him murdering women to make perfume out of their skin.
But the movie itself is really not that graphic, and it’s really just the opening scene that has that shock value, and I definitely feel the same with this opening into this book.
Like that was a really incredible opening. I can’t wait to continue listening. I can’t wait to continue sharing my thoughts. So, wow.
So this is definitely very different, so far from the movie. Especially at the beginning, it’s some different characters. In the movie, it was like halfway before he realized that he didn’t have a scent. With all that, it was him not being able to smell himself. It wasn’t about him not having a scent at all. So it’s interesting to see him starting with the wet nurse here, and to have that the part of the main thing about him being a child that doesn’t smell, that he doesn’t have a normal child smell, and how that was a discussion that was had because he didn’t smell at all. Like no scents of apples or no, whatever it was like his poo smelled or whatever. But he definitely did not have a scent, and that was not really a main focus of the movie.
I am definitely very interested to see how that plays out, because I feel already like when he kills the first woman in the movie — like when you watch the movie, it seems like, “How would she not know that he’s right there?” But if he doesn’t have that sense of smell, he doesn’t even exude that. They can’t smell him at all. So that would be how he could sneak up on these women, and I kind of already feel like that was a missed opportunity in the movie, because I already feel like that adds so much more understanding to this story and some of the things that happened in the movie. I’m definitely so interested to see how they go about going on in this book.
Again here, these are characters that were not in the movie, like this monk and this wet nurse and all this baby talk and everything while they’re trying to figure out. This chapter here and with him going to Madame Gaillard — she was the first character in the movie that came along, it was the mom that died because she got hang up for trying to kill her kid. And then they gave the baby immediately to Madame Gaillard. So these first couple of chapters are already different than the movie.
I really feel like they should have included some of what they cut out some chapters two and three in the movie. I sincerely feel like the whole idea of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille not having a smell at all is a huge thing. And it really makes so much of some of the things in the movie makes so much more sense. Since I already have all this extra understanding of the movie without having even met any of the other characters, the opening scene was the exact same pretty much. And then the last two chapters were completely new backstory that I really feel should have been included even with the Madame Gaillard stuff when the kids were looking at him all weird everything.
I’m pretty sure that’s what’s about to happen next, because we’re moving into him being there. But all of the kids just thought he was weird and I still feel like there was the opportunity for the kids to have given the information from chapters two and three if they didn’t want him to go through the wet nurses and the monk and then whatever first before he got passed off there. I think that the wet nurses and this monk and whoever is in chapter three didn’t die, right? Or was I maybe just not paying attention in the audio like that? I might have to go back and check that might be why they were cut out of the movie because I’m pretty sure the movie was trying to keep that theme of Jean-Baptiste leaving death in his wake.
So we’ll see. Maybe no one dies in the book after like that, I don’t know. Maybe that was something they added in the movie I’ll have to see what comes up. But, wow, I do feel like the movie kind of missed out on some things, so we’ll see how I feel coming up.
Okay, see this bothers me again. First of all, Jean-Baptiste is already in his older years. I guess he’s not a baby when he comes to this little orphanage. And Madame Gaillard has no sense of smell. So there’s another missed opportunity for them to have discussed that in the movie. I’m not mad at the book, the book is very interesting, and I certainly stopped too early, I guess, when I first started reading it. But I was in college, so I don’t know it was different. The book is really interesting, I definitely just feel like the movie has missed out, or did miss out, on some of these opportunities.
I still am interested to see if there is going to be any more similarities, especially because that opening scene was basically like word-for-word, page for page, but then nothing else has been the same yet. And I’m just interested to see what it’s going to happen.
One thing I will have to double check when I go back and watch this movie again — I think that his first word in the movie is also “wood.” It better be, because if it’s not, I’m gonna be really upset because I do remember him saying “wood” in the movie, and I do remember them talking about him not talking until he was older, so I’m going to have to double check that particular part.
But that was interesting. We did see out the rest of Madame Gaillard’s days. However, she did not die right after she sold Jean-Baptiste off to Grimal. She lived out the rest of her days. That’s interesting, because I still feel like we’re going to see everyone die, but maybe just in the book they don’t die as soon as Jean-Baptiste leaves. But I don’t mind that particular change in the movie, that theme of anyone that he comes in contact with dies, pretty much.
I’m mostly just upset, so far, about the lack of the movie discussing his lack of scemt in general. I just feel like that makes so much more sense as to why his sense of smell is so much stronger than everyone else’s.
This was that first chapter that resembles a movie since beginning. Monsieur Grimal is pretty much exactly the same. This was pretty much the same kind of montage of Jean-Baptiste’s life there.
This, though, talks about Jean-Baptiste getting the anthrax disease, and how he survived from that and how that made him get more of an elevated status with Monsieur Grimal.
The end of this chapter has Jean-Baptiste getting to Paris for the first time since now he is being regarded as a better worker, as he survived the anthrax disease and is now immune to it. His status is getting elevated, and we are moving more toward things that I know. Or, hopefully, anyway.
Okay, well that was a fun that kind of reconnect with Jean-Baptiste in Paris. I definitely think that it’s super interesting that he knows where his mother died. It mentioned in this chapter that he sometimes went and visited the place where she was hanged. That was another thing that wasn’t left out of the movie but I think I can probably understand that a little bit more. I don’t think that he ever had an emotional connection with his mother. It doesn’t seem that way still in this text anymore than it did in the movie.
I am interested to see now how his relationship with scent is beginning now that he has returned to Paris. I’m still interested in this whole, “He doesn’t have a smell himself” thing and how that is going to develop throughout this text. But this is the first time since his whole connection with the different types of woods that we see him connecting with his sense of smell. So we will see what happens.
Okay, well Jean-Baptiste has made his first murder. He killed that girl and it was basically just the same as it was in the movie. So that was another book-to-movie, word for word kind of scene. Much more grotesque, I think, especially when he’s sniffing around on her body and stuff. But I don’t know this is definitely… in a weird way, it is much more interesting than the movie, if, for nothing else, then for the amount of detail that is in it.
It is so, like, second-by-second in all of the right parts, and so, just kind of whoosh through all of this stuff that doesn’t matter. So I definitely think that this is a good read. I might buy the actual book and then reread this as the physical copy. But as far as a book that is being told to me, I am definitely super invested. This book is way better than the movie and I cannot wait to see what happens.
And we, we have met Giuseppe Baldini, who is played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie, and he is the perfume maker. We will just have to see how he fares when he meets Jean-Baptiste. I’m interested to see how his transition here will occur.
This chapter was basically the same thing as in the movie. This is when we’re first really meeting Giuseppe Baldini and the Amor and Psyche perfume that’s his biggest competition. We have seen some of his frustration with his recent struggles when it comes to making his own perfumes. Now there is the major perfume on the market, the Amor and Psyche, that is causing him to lose his business — but he is about to meet Jean-Baptiste, so we will see what happens…
Well, that chapter was definitely just some Giuseppe Baldini rant. I don’t even know where to start with that. I wasn’t really expecting any of that from this book. Baldini had this whole thought process about God and syphilis being God’s punishment, a comet being God’s warning and talking about creating creations and perfumes and venting about people who are debating over the world being round and just being angry that his competition was doing better than him. Yeah, so that was just a weird venty chapter of Baldini just being mad about everything. He just sounded like an old white Republican, to be honest.
We see more of Baldini and his obsession with Amor and Psyche, and how he can make a perfume of his own. This was similar to the scene in the movie when he put the scent on the handkerchief and walked it in front of his face and smelled it, and is trying out all the different sense to try and make a perfume of his own to survive in this cutthroat scent world of perfume making.
So we just spent a little bit more time with Baldini and here, I have to admit I’m a little surprised at all of the God talk. There was something in this chapter that did really strike me, which was talking about how God gives people the good times and the bad times, but it’s not about bemoaning the bad times, but using the bad times to prove that you’re a man and he’s obviously talking about struggles that he’s having with his perfume making.
I would relate to that with writer stuff. So, that was interesting, I guess, but now here at the end of this chapter, he has just met one Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. And so now, I will see what is about to happen, because in the movie this is when he’s about to learn how to make perfume because he has met the perfume maker.
We see Jean-Baptiste make his first perfume. What is interesting about this, as compared to the movie, is that in the movie, Jean-Baptiste did not know any name of any scent. When he went to prove to Baldini that he could make the Amor and Psyche from Pélissier. When he went to make the Amor and Psyche from Pélissier in the movie, he didn’t know any of the scents. In the book, he knew everything except for storax. And the one scent that Jean-Baptiste did not know the name of was the one scent that Baldini did not recognize in the perfume.
That allowed Jean-Baptiste to go forth and prove his knowledge to Baldini. This also then introduced the idea of the formula. And I’m sure we’re gonna get more into that in a minute as far as what the perfect formula is, but Baldini discusses the idea of needing a formula to make a perfume, and how everything needs to be all of the right mixture down to the last drop, because even one or two drops of incorrect or extra scents can make or break or change everything.
Jean-Baptiste obviously goes on to make this perfume just fine with just his nose and all the right mixtures. And he has now officially impressed Mr. Baldini and is on his way to being the scariest ass perfume maker ever.
Okay I jumped the gun a little bit in the last one. This was the chapter where Jean-Baptiste actually went and made the Amor and Psyche. In the last chapter, it was just him getting ready to do everything. But this chapter actually sawJean-Baptiste doing his little experimentation, while Baldini just kind of sat back and watched.
This had Jean-Baptiste asking Baldini if he could please work for him and offering up all of these extra scent and Baldini being unsure. As soon as Jean-Baptiste leaves, Baldini then smells the perfume, and it takes him back to his youth, and then that really was the same in the movie, where he’s standing out in this field and he’s with this brunette woman whispering that she loves him.
The movie made it seem — the perfume is what brings that out, but it was his youth that he was remembering. That was what the big thing about this perfume was, was that it reminded him of who he was when he was younger and it brought him back to that sense of euphoria. And I think, especially considering what happens — or at least what happened in the movie and what might happen at the end of this book — that could be the beginning stages of that depiction of euphoria through scent, especially because at the end of the chapter here is the first time that Baldini then does not say his nightly prayers.
In the movie with what happens at the end with the orgies is that they forgot their morals and their ethics and their whatever, so I think that this might have been the first kind of sense of foreshadowing of the idea that this sense of smell can make you forget things that are important to you like that, and can make you just forget who you are and transport you into another realm of ecstasy.
All right, so, Baldini bought Grenouille off of Grimal, who then died, but differently than in the movie. In the movie, he was murdered. In the book, he just got drunk and walked the wrong way home and slipped off a bridge and drowned. But the end of this chapter also had the first time that the word orgy was used, and I, again, wonder if we have big gutten. The foreshadowing of what is to come. And I am again interested to see if that is what happens in this book. And if it is, how it comes to be.
So now we see the flourishing of Baldini’s perfume shop again now that Jean-Baptiste is here giving him all of these different perfume ideas and all of these formulas that he makes just from his smell. Again, like in the movie, this was a good montage chapter where it moved quickly and nicely with the details just being where they needed to be. By now, Jean-Baptiste’s interest in perfume making is increasing, and he is starting to realize that there are scens that he recognizes that he cannot capture. So, here we go.
This chapter definitely sees Jean-Baptiste go into town having some fun with some experimentation. Up until this point, I forgot to say, I think that outside of those first couple of chapters that didn’t have anything to do with the movie when Jean-Baptiste went to the wet nurse, the movie follows the rest of this pretty closely. I’m not upset that the wet nurse and the monk didn’t get included in the movie, it really is more just about Jean-Baptiste not having a sense from the start. But this chapter is when Jean-Baptiste starts to hear about the alembic, which I just looked at.. it’s the tube thing that he goes on to use later on with the animal fat.
But now is when Baldini’s getting drunk and talking about old perfuming ways. And now, Jean-Baptiste’s mind is starting to think of other, more immediate satisfactions or whatever it just said that at the end that. Now he’s starting to learn the tricks of the trade. So his skills are advancing.
So this was actually pretty interesting. This was talking about that distillation process. This is obviously what Jean-Baptiste is so obsessed with. For me, just knowing what an alembic is now makes a lot more sense. It was never named in the movie ,which I guess could be another issue I would have with the movie, but that was very interesting to hear him go through his different experiments with glass and copper and his own hair and all that. One note, I guess I would say is that he did not try to burn a boiler distiller whatever that cat. He killed the cat in the movie! And so, I don’t know, he still doesn’t have that sadistic side, I guess.
He only killed the one girl so far, but he didn’t kill the cat. He is very interested in distilling, and it is interesting to hear about how the distillation process works. Just because now I’m learning so much more than what the movie didn’t even put in. This is so interesting.
Okay, so the end of the last chapter, Jean-Baptiste gets sick because he can’t distill everything and that was very upsetting to him. And this chapter very vividly described his little syphilis measles and everything going on while he’s just laying in bed with grout and dying because he’s so depressed that he cannot distill every scent.
Baldini is getting upset because his perfume shop is starting to suffer while this guy is dying. Jean-Baptiste reveals his dying wish — to know was how to bottle scent. Baldini tells him about three other methods and we are first introduced to Grasse, where Jean-Baptiste spends much of his time as he learns the rest of the ways to distill and bottle scent.
This was just a wrap up chapter of the three conditions of Jean-Baptiste’s departure: No reproducing, no repeating, and no competition. Baptiste does not care. Baldini ends up dying the same way he did in the movie.
This wraps up the empty space with God and everything. I mentioned earlier that I was surprised that there was some of this God talk, but all that talk was specific to Baldini and occured before he met Jean-Baptiste. As soon as he met Baptiste, there were multiple mentions of him walking away from his faith. Oddly enough, I’m pretty sure there was three. I might have to look back on that. If it is, that’s the Bible reference of three times denied. And this time, he was supposed to go to Notre Dame and pay his Lord for all of his blessings because of all of Jean-Baptiste’s help. Instead, a war on England and France had him thinking over money instead of thanks to his Lord. The greed ended up taking away both his life and that of his wife, which I think was very intentional on all parts.
I did not realize the end of the last chapter, it was the end of part one, that we have now moved on to the beginning of part two. Jean-Baptiste is on his way to Grasse. He’s just moving south, I don’t know, there really wasn’t that much going on in that chapter I don’t think. I’m interested to see what’s about to happen because this was the part in the movie when he realized that he didn’t have a scent. So I wonder if that’s still going to happen in the book because I still feel like that’s a good revelation. I don’t think he’s had that self-revelation yet. But I think that when — or if and when — he does in the book, it’s going to be amplified by the fact that that has been a thing since the beginning of this book, which again in the movie it was not.
Okay, so he is at the top of a volcano in this cave. And this is now discussing the idea of him not being able to smell anything at all, not even just himself. Because so much of this book has obviously been about how he could slip his way around without having to see, how he can make away his way around in the dark because he could just sneak his way around, and now he’s at the top of this volcano looking around, trying to use his eyes with his nose and trying to find connection. We’ll see how he does.
This is actually much different than the movie. He’s enjoying this life in this little crypt he’s made for himself. He’s basking in his own oneness, pretty much. He’s not doing it to find some supernatural power or connect with God or whatever like other people going into isolation. He’s simply just enjoying being by himself and not being around any other humans. And at least up until this point, he hasn’t had any realization that he has no smell and I’m interested to see if that’s going to happen.
Jean-Baptiste was kind of up in his head in this. I think it was another biblical reference, or at least a god-complex reference when Jean-Baptiste is talking about all of these seeds of sand that he’s planting and it was good. That was the biblical reference, to say “it was good.” For some reason, just reminded me of the creation and that God saw that it was good, you know, and so he’s like in his mind. Planting all these seeds and saying it was good, that he is the master of scent.
It also alludes to him growing bored after a while, and I think that’s another foreshadow of what happens at the very very end when he, like lets people eat him or whatever. Maybe, I don’t know how it’s gonna happen in this book because at this point he’s really diggin just living on his own like this, and he’s having a very irregular connection with scent that was, I mean not like it was in the movie but, yeah.
Jean-Baptiste is just way up in his head. He’s envisioning his purple sofa and his purple castle and his invisible servants, bringing him all of these bottles and things that he’s drinking and remembering everything in his life that he’s ever smelled and obviously most importantly, that girl. He’s drinking her over and over again, assuming her scent. And then it’s now going into some dark path of his soul. So, we’re getting into the part where it’s becoming this story of the murderer. I think pretty soon he’s going to be going actually in it to Grasse. Maybe, I’m not really sure, so we’ll see.
Very short chapter — not much to say outside of just more of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille’s craziness.
Okay well he has officially discovered that that he has no scent. This is interesting. Well first of all, he spent seven years in this little cave off by himself. So I think that — I mean, they don’t need to show that in the movie, but that’s obviously a little bit different than in the movie. He had his little freakout here where he’s realizing that he doesn’t smell. But what I think is actually so interesting about that was the discussion of the idea that we cannot really smell ourselves, anyway. It was talking about how, you know his whole life he’d been smelling himself, so he’s just so accustomed and used to his own scent.
I just feel like that’s so interesting because we can’t really smell ourselves. If we did the same thing he’s doing with soap, if you use the same soap all the time, after a while, your nose gets accustomed to it. That’s why if you change to a new deodorant or new soap, then the first couple of days you’re very aware when you shower or clean yourself. I think that that was just an interesting way of having it dealt with, that he felt like it was a natural thing to not be able to smell himself, but then he’s also I think aware that he is different than everybody else in that matter. And now he’s out of the cave and probably about to go crazy.
Jean-Baptiste is now in Montpelier, he’s met the mayor, looked for work and wants to get back to having some semblance of a normal life.
Jean-Baptiste is just getting weirder by the chapter.
This was all about his relationship with other people and their reactions to him and he’s noticing the differences. Now he’s become evil, he’s basically he literally said that to himself that “he who rules scent rules the world” or something. So this is him, starting to formulate the plot of taking over the world through said the his mastery of it. And he is intentionally being evil and he’s just compared himself — he really has a god complex, so let’s see what he does.
So he’s here taken over Montpelier. I don’t really know what else to say about that, but he’s started his take over. I wonder if there’s going to be this section now of the book where he’s here in Montpellier learning how to control people through scent. And then he’ll go to Grasse and take everything that he’s learned with him as he becomes completely crazy.
So now we have ended part two, and he is continuing on his quest to learn to take over. So let’s move on to part three and see what he does.
Okay, he has now officially met “the girl.” “The one” that everything is all about, and I am beside myself, because, first of all, okay. From what has just happened in this chapter, it sounds like he’s going to be following her for two years, because she is two years away from her “scent” being “ripe and inept” or whatever. When he first meets her she’s a child, though, I did not know that. That’s gross. I’m happy that they didn’t do that in the movie, to be honest, but it seems like he’s still going to wait until she’s older.
She is the perfect scent that is her beauty that everybody will understand and whatever. And it is a little bit different, also from the movie because I don’t think that Baldini ever told him about like the 13 different notes of the perfume or whatever. But all of that time he spent retreating into his mind and drinking the scent of the first woman that he killed, I think that has become the now-driving influence into learning how to capture this girl’s scent. He missed out on that first opportunity from the first girl. And now he’s learned all of this stuff about perfume making and now he’s learned about how, if you control scent you can control the world and now he has found his subjects that he wants to use to control the world with.
Now Jean-Baptiste is working for Madame Arnulfi and Dominique Druot who are rolling around in the sack together. He talks about the spermy odor, so that was fun to listen to. He’s here now learning about all the flowers and the distillation of them. And the next chapter said that they’re starting in on the orange blossoms. This is him now learning more about the distillation process. Now I’m realizing that in the movie, the stuff that looks like icing and like the animal fat and stuff that, all of that is a pomade that he’s making. And now, now that I’m understanding that it’s more of a pomade stuff. And I don’t know, so that’s just a note that I had from something that I didn’t realize from the movie.
We see more of Jean-Baptiste here doing his little pomade thing, working for Madame Arnulfi and Dominique Druot. He’s just learning more about the alembi to create these pomades, and doing all of this seasonal harvest. They’re realizing his talent here, as well.
There is a lot to unpack from this chapter. Okay, so first of all this saw him practicing with the idea of controlling people through different scents. He’s trying out different scents on himself and trying out how he works when he goes out, versus like how he’s smelling and he’s looking at everybody else’s scents in their auras and their whatever. And I was so happy earlier because he didn’t kill the cat, like he did in the movie, but here he kills the dog! As soon as he kills the dog, and he learns how to capture the dog’s scent, then another thing that the movie did not go over, which is I think fine because they probably just kept this out because of length purposes, but he actually goes and practices on other human beings, before he just goes for the women. So, this chapter he has officially learned how to bottle natural scent.
This guy is literally off his damn rocker. He’d be freaking out over here about losing his own scent, finding it, and then it’s gone from him and how he wants to go back to his cave, but no, he is no longer like that he must persevere because he is the greatest perfume maker in the world. And this girl with her perfect scent must be preserved forever and how this scent can’t run out and all this. He is a psycho psycho!! So he is definitely… I’m pretty sure I’m going to be putting this under my unlikeable protagonist, because he is gross.
Okay, so, Jean-Baptiste kills hella more people in this book than the movie. There was just that few, like he had the couple of practice ones and then like the main ones that he wanted for the perfume, but damn he killed 24 girls Up In This Bitch.
In the movie it mentioned that they were all virgins. That, in the book is a more important thing. It’s their virginal smell that he’s after, and that I don’t think was actually really depicted in the movie, it is because they are virgins that he is attracted to that smell. But another missed opportunity from the movie is from this chapter again goes into his lack of scent and also his control over scent. So when he’s breaking into houses with dogs that time he’s able to like get by them unnoticed and that’s how he’s able to get away with all of these murders. So I really feel, still now that I’m almost done with this book, that biggest missed opportunity in the movie was them not focusing on his own lack of scent, except for that one really weird part of the movie when he’s in the cage.
But people are dying. So, shit.
We have officially Antoine Richis, who is played by Alan Rickman in the movie. We’ve also met his daughter, Laure (who was Laura in the movie). She’s the same virgin that caught Jean-Baptiste’s interest a few chapters. So we will see. The town thinks that the murderer has been caught. That was very similar to the movie as well, just that little montage of the who done it. We are coming in to the climax. I don’t even know how I feel about that considering what I think might happen.
Okay, so I did not realize that Richis was a detective. That’s what he does. In the movie, he was the one that suggested that they get into the mind of Grenouille and try to think like the killer, but it was never really clear that he suggested that because that’s what he does. And so this is him putting together that his daughter, Laure, is the main one that the murderer is after because he is spending this time in his head trying to think the way that the murderer does. That characterization now just makes so much more sense as to why he was even kind of part of the movie outside of him just being the father of the final girl.
Richis is onto john Baptist, which has said in the last chapter that he knows that Jean-Baptiste is after these virgins. His daughter is a virgin, so he’s trying to marry her off so she can go get stuffed. Then she won’t be the perfume anymore, so… let’s see if he’s successful in the book.
See, this is another place that bothers me because, again, we see Jean-Baptiste here, and he makes it past Richis because he doesn’t have a scent or an identity and that’s how he’s able to get through all of these murders. I’m pretty sure he’s about to successfully murder Laure because he doesn’t exude a scent. I really am not going to get over how upset I am that the movie really did not play on that at all because I really feel like it would have added so much more to his characterization, but I need to get back to readin because I need to know what the fuck is going on in this fucking book.
Well, the murder of Laure is definitely different than in the movie… In the movie they just looked at each other and there’s a bright white flash and then she was dead. And then she is the most detailed and graphic murder of the whole thing. And her scent is his scent, and he is the weirdest most grotesque protagonist I’ve ever read.
Richis discovers Laure’s dead body. And I don’t know, that’s basically all that has happened in this chapter because it was pretty short, but I think now we’re moving on toward the end and I am really, really interested to see how that plays out.
And they have officially caught Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. We’ve only got a few chapters left here. And now it’s time to the trial, and I mean I guess we’ll see what has happened with regard to perfume he has been working on.
Okay, so Richis is ready to kill Jean-Baptiste and he’s envisioning how he’s going to die and how excited he is about it. I don’t know… it might end up a little bit differently than he thinks.
That was a lot.
That was the orgy scene. He had his hand out to 10,000 people and fondled their erotic parts. Whatever. It’s just a very detailed scene of them like getting very excited about him and the scent that he is wearing and him having this identity at the center is definitely different in this and it wasn’t the movie. In the movie he was just kind of like looking at everybody, but in the book, he was mad.
He did this to punish everybody because he couldn’t be one of them, because he doesn’t have a scemt. And because he looked like a hunchback, I mean he looks like Quasimodo pretty much in the book. In the movie, the actor they got is attractive and they just gave him some weird-looking skin disease, but in the book he’s a monster who doesn’t have any scent.
That is what he’s angry about, because he was jealous about the fact that he can’t be like people, because people don’t see that human in him, and the lack of his soul is what is connected to the lack of his ability to produce a scent of his own. And why he’s so interested and in creating all of these other scent and controlling people and giving all of that attention just through the way that he smells.
That’s why he used the orgy as a punishment in a weird way. I don’t know how it makes sense but it’s like he’s the AntiChrist in a sense. He’s like this devil child and there was so much God talk at the beginning and how he’s born in a place that’s like Sodom and Gomorrah, and he’s taking all these God fearing people in the same way that he did with Baldini. He’s forcing them to get rid of their morals and ethics because that’s what he thinks is funny.
Now, if he can’t kill them, then he can strip them of everything that they believe in and he can make them do something like this, that is so grotesque and so against what they would normally do that that’s what makes him like get off on this. But then obviously the dad of Laure, at the end of this chapter is when he has come up to basically just be like, “I see through you,” because he can smell his daughter’s scent.
So Jean-Baptiste here thinks, “Oh, he’s coming to kill me because he sees through the mask of my scent because it’s his daughter,” but now it’s kind of ending at that. So, we’ll see. I’m interested to see why Rishi’s character just suddently doesn’t care anymore that his daughter is dead.
Okay, so, what?
Richis fell in love with Grenouille in some weird way that was like part sexual but part fatherly… Like he was responding to the sexual energy from the orgy and Jean-Baptiste’s control of sexuality, but then that paternal instinct in him recognizing Laure’s scent just wanted to take care of Jean-Baptiste because he’d never been loved. And then yeah, everyone else, like in the movie, basically woke up the next morning and forgot about it. Dominique Druot confsesses to Jean-Baptiste’s murders and is executed while no one ever thinks about Jean-Baptiste again.
So yeah, they ate him. He did it because he had no effect from the perfume and he couldn’t fuck other people. He could smell the perfume, but since he was its creator, it didn’t have the same desired effects that created this euphoria for him. Not the same way as with everyone else, so he basically returned to where he was. Everybody fell in love with him and turns into a cannibal and wanted a piece of angel flesh.
It was an act of pure love to consume him in his entirety.