Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Perfume Burned His Eyes by Michael Imperioli

The Perfume Burned His Eyes
Michael Imperioli
Akashic Books
256 Pages

What does the music of Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground, The 1970s, Suicide, Sex, drugs,  & alcohol, a  Young Boy from Queens coming of age in Manhatten, and mass hysteria have in common??? They are the elements of a Historical Fiction debut novel by Sopranos actor, Michael Imperioli.

The gist of the story is this: Matthew’s father split on his mother when he was a baby. Matthew’s mother inherited the family fortune and moves Matthew to a world so foreign from his Queens upbringing even though they only move across the East River to Manhatten.  Matthew meets Veronica his spirit animal who teaches him to think differently than he might have to live in his lonely shell. Then, Matthew delivers food to an apartment a few floors above his own which houses, none other than the musician Lou Reed.

My Review:

Author Michael Imperioli's debut novel is stunningly vivid. His characters, especially Matthew, are well fleshed out, they are easy to get to know, easy to understand why they have the personalities they have and easy to be compassionate towards. I wanted to adopt Matthew's friend Veronica and take her away from her traumatic life and show her what a good family looks like. How she can be loved for being herself. That she doesn't have to sell herself just to exist. The Climatic twist between Matthew and Veronica is heartbreaking. I cried in realistic horror. As the unlikely father figure musician Lou Reed teaches Matthew confidence, self-respect, and appreciation for the life that Matthew has with this mother.

The Vibe of Manhatten flows in the background like a hidden character. The noises, the smells, and people add to the setting of The Perfume Burned His Eyes.

This book has some elements of teen prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse as part of a coming of age novel.

I gave this book 4 stars for keeping me emotionally involved, the historical fiction story about Lou Reed and amazing writing for a new author

I thank Akashic Books via Edelweiss+ for the opportunity to read The Perfume Burned His Eyes for my honest opinion.

Just for fun -- 
here is an interview of author Michael Imperioli on The Build and his new show Alex Inc. 

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