Topping Up Destiny.

Book Review for “The President’s Hat” by Antoine Laurain.

Summary: Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him. Daniel’s thrill at being in such close proximity to the most powerful man in the land persists even after the presidential party has gone, which is when he discovers that Mitterrand’s black felt hat has been left behind. After a few moments’ soul-searching, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It’s a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow … different.

Age: Adult; Genres: Literary, Fiction; Settings: Era/s: Contemporary – late 20th Century; Location/s: Mostly France – Mostly Paris; Other Categories: Novel, Humor.

President's Hat

Does anyone remember the 2005 movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”? I believe it was based on a YA novel, about a group of best friends who share a pair of magical jeans. Well, even though I never read that book, nor did I actually see the movie, there is something in this novel that is a bit similar. You see, in both of these, the wearing of the piece of attire has some kind of an effect on the wearer. I’m not sure what happens in that film, but as I said, they use the word “magical” and I’m guessing that’s why I never read it, or saw the movie. I mean… Come on… four different women with four very different bodies, each wearing the jeans that fit them perfectly? What tripe! (I see there was a sequel to that film, but trust me, I’m not going to bother with either of them.) However, a hat makes much more sense. I mean head sizes may vary, but never in the book does it say anything about how well or badly the hat fits each of the people who wear it. Furthermore, there is no mention anywhere of any type of magic.

Now, I know I sometimes feel different when I’m wearing something stylish, or something that I know looks particularly flattering on me (rare as that might be). If what I’m wearing is really good, I could almost swear I acted like a different person. Obviously, you just know that the President of France isn’t going to wear something that doesn’t fit his station. So, if someone gets and wears his hat, they might feel more… powerful, more confident. That’s why this hat is far more believable for me than those jeans.

With that hurdle overcome, I have to say that all the reviews I read about this book really didn’t let me down at all. While it is a shorter novel (only about 208 pages), it is packed full of humor. I could hardly wait to read it each night, I was enjoying myself so much. I wanted to know what effect that hat had on each of the people who wore it, as well as who would get it next, and how they got it. Moreover, the traveling part is only half the story. Yes, we start out with Daniel, and then go onto all the other. But Laurain also has Daniel become a type of detective to find that hat after he’s lost it. I mean, if you lose your “lucky charm” you’re going to want to get it back, even if our luck hasn’t actually run out because it’s gone. In this, sending Daniel to hunt down the hat makes perfect sense. But that too isn’t all, and the ending here is so ingenious, I was totally impressed.

The thing is, there’s nothing particularly special about the writing style here. It is very straight forward, but written with a type of irreverence that laughs at the actions of the characters, yet treats them kindly, especially when we see them doing things that improve their lives. I guess the phrase ‘tongue-in-cheek’ makes sense, but each of the wearers has a small ‘coming-of-age’ moment as well. All told, this was such a lovely read, I’m so glad I bought a copy, and I’m going to keep very good track of where I lend it out, since I really want to keep this copy. Yes, I’m very warmly recommending this book, which is such a fast and enjoyable read, and I think it deserves 4.5 stars out of five!


Gallic Books released “The President’s Hat” by Antoine Laurain on September 3, 2013. This book is available (via the following affiliate links) from Amazon, Blackwell‘s (prices include international shipping), Foyles, Waterstones, WHSmith, Wordery UK and Wordery US, Kobo US (eBooks and audiobooks),, iTunes (iBooks and audiobooks), new or used from Alibris, used from Better World Books (promoting libraries and world literary), as well as from as well as from and UK.Bookshop (to support independent bookshops, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic).

This novel qualifies for the following reading challenges: None, just read it for fun!


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11 thoughts on “Topping Up Destiny.

  1. There’s supposed to be a bit of magic and a little wishful thinking in the manner of young girls, that the traveling pants make them feel confident because they have the love of their friends in mind when they wear these particular pants. The hat concept does sound less earnest, more humorous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember when this one was first published. It got a lot of excellent reviews but it didn’t really appeal to me. Your comment about the travelling pants concept and how unrealistic it was to expect four different people to fit into the same size jeans made me laugh out loud! It does sound like a ridiculous premise for a novel 😂


  3. I have just found this book last week, and immediately included it to my #20Books0fSummer list. It does sound hilarious, and I’m relieved that you liked it. Can’t wait to read it in July (supposing #ParisInJuly returns).

    Liked by 1 person

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