Book Review: Remembering Smell

Remembering Smell: A Memoir of Losing—and Discovering—The Primal Sense
by Bonnie Blodgett
245 pages

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
List price: $24.00

Most of us can only imagine losing our sight or our hearing completely and we hope it never happens to us. But we could do without our sense of smell, if we had to, couldn’t we? Garden writer Bonnie Blodgett never gave that a thought until it happened to her over the course of several months. Attributed to a single use of Zicam nasal spray to treat a cold, Blodgett first suffered from phantosmia (“imagine every disgusting thing you can think of tossed into a blender and puréed”) before complete loss of smell occurred (anosmia).

Spurred to find out more about this most primal of senses, Blodgett plays detective and what she finds out will astound you. Most of us have no idea how integrated our sense of smell is with so many aspects of everyday life that we take for granted, let alone how it affects our ability to taste. The bulk of the book imparts some incredible information about this before bringing us to the conclusion of Bonnie’s case.

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Bonnie Blodgett’s Garden Letter: Green Thoughts For the Northern Gardener won the Garden Writers Association’s top award in its first year. She has written for a number of national publications, including Parenting, Health, Glamour and Better Homes and Gardens. She lives with her family in St. Paul, Minn.

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