I really enjoy these old-people-as-protagonists books, and this one is no exception. Funny and sort of heart-breaking, totally recommend.
This book brought me so much joy (and, admittedly, a little bit of melancholy). Hendrik Groen is the grandpa we all wished we had. He's fastidious in his ways, compassionate, and just a little bit grumpy. His "secret diary" reveals the day-to-day hopes, musings, and gripes of an elderly man who lives in a senior home with other residents he finds mostly petty and annoying (with a few golden exceptions). Hendrik's mission to forge meaningful friendships and live out the last of his days as fully as he is able will renew your lease on life and have you in stitches.
Translated from the Dutch by Hester Velmans, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 ¼ Years Old describes life in a retirement home in Amsterdam. Hendrik Groen points his pseudonymous pen, with much mirth, at his co-residents, himself, the staff, and the government at large by recounting the banal and the eccentric.
Amid the antics of this aging community, Groen doesn’t hesitate to tackle tough subjects like dementia and euthanasia with a spot of humor and much tenderness.
This fictional diary had me laughing out loud. You don’t have to be older to appreciate it, but it helps. I am looking forward to the sequel: On the Bright Side: The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen.
"Reading" this book on library audio narrated by Derek Jacobi. It's a jolly rousing performance. A great companion for this aging patron.
It made me laugh and feel sad at the same time. I hope I have Hendrik's gumption when I get to his age and better yet have a group of friends like his!
Lots of laughs, but incredibly believable at the same time, and more truth than we might want to admit about the difficulties associated with getting older.
Perhaps I've read too many books with a similar concept recently, but I felt this was a bit too drawn out and lacked the heart that made other books special. The theme was done better elsewhere.
Really enjoyed this book, so many insightful and thought provoking details about daily life for the 80plus in a rest home.
Loved the setting in Amsterdam North too.
I'm surprised at how popular this book is. Old Hendrik keeps a diary this year.... a revelation about aging & retirement homes. It felt as if he was a stand up comic trying to do a performance on paper. It was very average & didn't seem very sincere.
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