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Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord
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"Francoise Lelord has had a successful career as a psychiatrist in the USA and France, and now writes full-time. 'Hector and the Search for Happiness' is almost child-like in it's simplicity, yet is so intelligent. It's really difficult to compartmentalise this novel into any specific genre - it's fictionalised self-help in a way, and could be classed as a modern-day fable. The lead character, Hector, is a psychiatrist, he is successful in his career and enjoys helping people. Hector has noticed that many people seem to be unhappy, even those that have money, family and good jobs. One of his patients tells him one day that he looks tired, so he decides to take a 'busman's' holiday. He decides to travel the world in search of what real happiness is. The book follows Hector on his journey across the world to different countries. During his trip he meets many people - Hector is a friendly kind of guy and strikes up conversation with anyone, from a monk to a gangster. He learns something from everyone that he meets - and compiles a list of things that make people really happy. Although a psychiatrist, Hector is very naive - he finds himself in some improbable situations, but his good nature, innocence and understanding nature gets him out of trouble every time. Hector does find out what happiness is and by the end of the story, the reader also will realise just what real happiness is. This is a heart-warming story, charmingly written and full of clever insights. Sometimes this sort of 'discover yourself' novel can be patronising, overly sentimental or a little twee - Hector is none of these. It is amusing, warm and quite adventurous. This is the first in the Hectors Journeys series which have already sold millions of copies worldwide and I look forward to reading the next in the series. The book is soon to be a major film from the makers of The Last Station."
Jan 12 2010, 17:16 PMby Anne Cater
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