I was recently given an opportunity to read the upcoming memoir, Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride, from perfume blogger Alyssa Harad. It instantly hit home with me as some of you might recall my own experience with the discovery of my Great Grandmother’s own signature scent, My Sin last year. It kind of took me aback somewhat. Was this sort of thing a common experience? There was a sort of meta narrative as well, where Harad herself begin to explore her own identity, womanhood, self, friends and family through this lens of their scents (dislikes, passions and signature) as I, the reader reveled in my own.
|* Such an unappealing 1970s-ish cover design
for a lush, decadent read. Boo!
Harad’s an exquisite writer and her sensational descriptions of memories, experiences and aromatic bouquets, traces, whiffs are intoxicating even to the scent-deprived reader of the other side of the iPad. Although initially turned off by the ‘”girly'” title, the book description pulled me in for a wonderful surprise.
Harad’s is not your typical beauty or fashion blogger. She’s an academic (PhD in Eng. Lit), a tomboy, a feminist – who discovers her deep, reticent passion for perfumes during her mid-thirties during her engagement to her Mexican-American fiancee through online research and blogs. Her path of discovery leads her to embrace who she is, what she loves, and what makes her happy.
I am glad I had a chance to read it early, especially in the spring, near Mother’s Day. There is so much history and connection with mother-daughter here that it achingly made me recall the scents that provoke lucid memories of my own mother and her scents: Chanel No. 5, Mint Tic Tacs,…
Eat, Love, Pray — Smell… Trend?
The book also brought to mind The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel of Suspense by M. J. Rose, which also centers around perfumes but which I have not read along with some other recent books from the last year.
Along with the blog-to-book and Kitchen-recipe memoirs, I wonder if this is the beginning of a new category for the book industry.
Verdict: Geek fan girls and chic fashionistas alike will enjoy this true story of self-discovery and coming to terms with your own femininity.