The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Hendrik Groen may be old, but he is far from dead and isn't planning to be buried any time soon. Granted, his daily strolls are getting shorter because his legs are no longer willing and he has to visit his doctor more than he'd like. Technically speaking he is...elderly. But surely there is more to life at his age than weak tea and potted geraniums? Hendrik sets out to write an expos?: a year in the life of his care home in Amsterdam, revealing all its ups and downs--not least his new endeavor, the anarchic Old-But-Not-Dead Club. And when Eefje moves in--the woman Hendrik has always longed for--he polishes his shoes (and his teeth), grooms what's left of his hair and attempts to make something of the life he has left, with hilarious, tender and devastating consequences.
Publisher: New York :, Grand Central Publishing,, 2017.
ISBN: 9781455542178
Characteristics: 378 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Velmans, Hester


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Sep 24, 2019

I found this book rang very true about the dreary lives of many in seniors' facilities. Fortunately Hendrik and his gang decide to tackle this problem for themselves. An interesting read.

JessicaGma Sep 03, 2019

It's a clever conceit that examines very real implications of aging, death and how do you best manage both. Hendrik is a delight.

Jul 25, 2019

This book is a pure delight, one of the most amusing things I've read in many years. Gruen is a sly, mischievous old guy with a sardonic view of his world and those around him. He is waging a full time battle against the seemingly endless unwritten "regulations" that govern the seniors residence where he lives. As a founding member of the "Old but Not Dead" club he and his band of fellow rebels are intent upon living their lives to the full.
Gruen has brilliantly recreated the reality that many of us will face, with absolute honesty, courage, empathy and above all humor.
By far the best thing I've read so far this year.

Kstobo May 05, 2019

I really enjoy these old-people-as-protagonists books, and this one is no exception. Funny and sort of heart-breaking, totally recommend.

Beaverton_JennieC Oct 09, 2018

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.

PimaLib_SamR Apr 26, 2018

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.

Apr 06, 2018

"Reading" this book on library audio narrated by Derek Jacobi. It's a jolly rousing performance. A great companion for this aging patron.

Feb 05, 2018

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!

Oct 18, 2017

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.

Sep 20, 2017

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.

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