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Description - The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 831/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen


'There are many laughs in this book but it's so much more than just a comedy. It's a story about how friendship, selflessness and dignity lie at the heart of the human experience. When I'm an old man, I want to be Hendrik Groen' John Boyne, author of international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
'Another year and I still don't like old people. Me? I am 83 years old.'
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 had 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 expose- a year in the life of his care home in Amsterdam, revealing all its ups and downs - not least his new endeavour 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.

The indomitable Hendrik Groen - Holland's unlikeliest hero - has become a cultural phenomenon in his native Netherlands and now he and his famously anonymous creator are conquering the globe. A major Dutch bestseller, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen will not only delight older readers with its wit and relevance, but will charm and inspire those who have years to go before their own expiry date.
'Hendrik Groen's account of daily life in a care home for the elderly pulled me in with its self-deprecating humour, finely drawn characters and frank accounting of the trials of old age. Behind Hendrik's light touch and grumpy-old-man persona is a story with a great deal of heart, and some important themes. Hendrik effortlessly incorporates the politics of aged care, from funding to euthanasia, into his personal story and offers his own acerbic insights. Anyone who has a friend or relative in a nursing home or retirement village, or who hopes to grow old with dignity themselves, will find much to reflect on' Graeme Simsion, international bestselling author of The Rosie Project
And here is what the readers are saying . . .
'The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 Years Old is a book I'd really want everyone to read, it is funny, sweet and aims straight to the heart. It's been a long time for me since I read a book I love this much. I've had a big grin on my face throughout the whole book. It has nested itself in my top 3 favourite books of all time fighting for first place with Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. It's for sure by far the best book of 2016 so far!'
'What a change this was from my usual genres, but I'm so glad I read it, it was a pleasure and an honour to share Hendrik's life, if only for a year!'
'It should be compulsory reading for all those teenagers who have recently discovered another diary of A. Mole to see how the older generation thinks'
'This book is one of the most touching, heart-wrenching stories'
'Is there only room for 5 stars??'
'One of the funniest, touching books I have ever read.'
'Some of it is so funny I cried.'
'An absolute gem of a book.'
'The best book I have read in the last few years.'

Buy The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 831/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9780718182953
Format: Paperback / softback
(234mm x 153mm x 26mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: Michael Joseph Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 25-Aug-2016
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 831/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen

Book Reviews - The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 831/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen

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Book Review: The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 831/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen - Reviewed by (02 Nov 2016)

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 ¼ years old is the first book by Dutch old age pensioner and care home resident, Hendrik Groen. Hendrik starts his diary on the 1st January, 2013 with the aim of “giving the world an uncensored expose: a year in the life of the inmates of a care home in North Amsterdam”.

Hendrik’s descriptions of the goings-on, the staff and residents at his care home are witty, dry, often sarcastic and usually funny. The home’s director “Mrs Stelwagen is always friendly, ready with a willing ear and an encouraging word for everyone, but concealed beneath this veneer of sympathy is an unhealthy dose of self-importance and power lust”

Hendrik’s comments on the day’s events, both in the home and in the greater world are always pithy and insightful. Deaths are big on the agenda: “The deceased are a favourite subject of discussion among the elderly. Perhaps it’s to remind themselves that they are still alive”; euthanasia, too, attracts discussion “Old people are already considered of little social value, but if years from now there are even more of us, I can predict that anyone over seventy will get a nice fat bonus for volunteering to be euthanized”. When ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ bracelets are made available, Hendrik muses: “What if the paramedics don’t notice your ‘Do not resuscitate’ bracelet until they’ve got your ticker going again with a powerful electric shock? What then? Would they have to desuscitate you?”

Hendrik gets together with some like-minded residents to form the Old-But-Not-Dead Club, for the purpose of planning some activities to which they can truly look forward. Staff are disapproving and the director seems to be intent on finding rules and regulations to curtail their enjoyment: “Rules, supposedly, are always for our own good. But of course they’re first and foremost a means of avoiding risk and preventing lawsuits”

As Hendrik comments on politics and policies, the demise of famous people, the abdication of the Queen, the retirement of the Pope, the attitude of offspring, Tour de France, bullies, mobility scooters, budget cutbacks, Freedom of Information regulations, the war in Syria, and the debilities that age brings, he gives the reader a novel that is blackly funny, but also very moving. And makes us really think about how we treat our elderly.

Hendrik Groen is an alias: after much media speculation, in April 2016, NRC Handelsblad revealed him to be 61 year old Dutch librarian, Peter de Smet. He has written a sequel: “As Long as there is Life” which continues the story of Hendrik and his Club will be published by Michael Joseph in January 2018. Flawlessly translated from the original Dutch by Hester Velmans, this impressive debut has humour, heartache and plenty to think about. 4 stars

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