Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 11 2017)
Synopsis: 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 exposé: 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.
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The Diary of Hendrik Groen follows Groen’s life in his seniors home where he attempts to go find ways to still enjoy his life. He does this by forming a social club that participates in outings and helps Groen enjoy life.
Humor spills off the pages of this book helping Groen come alive in your mind. Originally written in Dutch, this translation is nearly perfect; but I was left to wonder if some of the humour was lost in the pages. There were humorous parts, but I felt like there were other parts where the humor fell flat.
The book is written in diary entry format and while I am not usually a big fan of this format, by about 50 pages in I didn’t even notice it anymore. Groen has a very distinct voice that makes the character come alive and the diary entries less apparent. I did find the book a little anti-climactic which lead me to read another book in the middle of reading, but Groen’s voice never left my head making me go back to it. I definitely think fans of THE 100 YEAR OLD MAN WHO JUMPED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED will really love this book – and it would be a great read for people 60+ who can best relate to Groen!
* I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Hachette Book Group Canada*