This book was a nice easy break from our previous reads, only 160 pages long and written in a very simplistic, almost childlike manner. The author has created the short story utilising the use of fables, to express the lessons in happiness. The idea of the main story purposely being childlike, so that the more grown up fables stick out, was also pointed out by one of our members.
Most of the group liked the fact that the book never usually mentioned the country/city that Hector visits, and with his brief description of his destination, allows the reader to create their own version of happiness/unhappiness in their head.
The book created many smiles, especially lesson number 18. Members felt sorry for the unaware Clara, and found Hector to be a bit contradictory between being an intelligent psychiatrist and a very naive man, who also came across to many as sleazy. There wasn't a plot as such, but certainly the fact that a slightly fed up Hector wanted to go travelling and compile an investigation into happiness certainly wasn't far fetched.
The ending let us all down, there were no big revelations into the key for happiness, and the characters seemed to be living happily ever after, a very easy way out for the author. Hectors own unhappiness (being his promlems in love) may finally come to a close in Lelords next novel, "Hector and the secrets of Love", due out in 2011, the group are probably split on reading this one.
Overall the book was seen as uplifting, educational but also slightly patronising. A book which is like no other and described as being random. As the book was written by a psychiatrist, we felt that the writing style was a bit too simple and not meaty enough. Although the book had been translated from French, we felt the translation was not a reflection in the language used.