Review: Hector and the Search of Happiness by Francois Lelord

 

Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord

Published: August 31, 2010

Number of pages: 164

Format: paperback

Publisher: Penguin

Genre: contemporary, romance, psychology, philosophy

Audience: older adults

Rating: 1 owl hoot out of 5

Summary:

Once upon there were a psychiatrist named Hector who had a nice job, a nice relationship with a nice woman, and a nice comfortable lifestyle. But one day he wasn’t satisfied with himself so he decided to take a trip around the world. His goal: to research what it is that make people happy. Hector travels from Paris to China to America taking notes and meeting new people that his journey becomes entertaining, empowering, and thrilling as he discovers the answer to happiness.

My Review:

Once upon a time there was a young girl who watched the trailer for the movie Hector and the Search for Happiness. When she learned that the movie is based on an international bestseller, she quickly turned to the library and borrowed a copy. She thought that the book would just be as entertaining as the movie, but to her dismay she was wrong. And here’s why.

There’s nothing worse than a flat character with no personality and a story told by a monotonous narrator. What really put me off was how we’re constantly reminded of Hector as a psychiatrist even though this was made clear in the first sentence of page one. I get that Hector’s a psychiatrist and that psychiatry is his field of study so why bother repeating that fact over and over again in the next five chapters?! As if it wasn’t clear enough already.

One of the biggest challenges I had was getting through the story, as Hector is both unlikable and naive. It was interesting at first of how the story is written in a middle grade language, and the romance between Hector and Clara is kind of cute. But in the end, I was really annoyed at Hector as his view on women is either sexist or eroticized, and he makes stupid mistakes way too often. Overall I wasn’t enlightened by Hector’s research since his observations about happiness seems one-dimensional.

The story seemed charming at first but then it all went down hill because the character was a tad flat and there was way too much repetition. I am just glad that I borrowed a library copy and hopefully the movie will be a little more entertaining than the book.

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