The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old

Hendrik Groen, trans. from the Dutch by Hester Velmans. Grand Central, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4555-4217-8
Delightful and moving, Groen’s novel shares a full year of the eponymous octogenarian’s journal entries, detailing his day-to-day observations, humorous inner monologues, and overall zest for life within a nursing home in Amsterdam. Bored with the daily monotony of life at the center, he decides to keep a journal for a complete year to expose the frustrations, gripes, and groans of his fellow “inmates” and the realities of growing old. Between hilarious quips about life, Hendrik regales readers with the joys of the motor scooter and his decision to relent and wear adult diapers. Hendrik’s good friend Evert—a crotchety old fellow who gets his kicks riling up the other residents—helps stave off the loneliness, but it’s when new resident Eefje arrives that Hendrik feels a spark he hasn’t experienced in a long time. Hendrik, Eefje, and Evert, along with a small group of wily seniors, decide to have a little fun while they still can by organizing the Old-But-Not-Dead Club to plan outings and excursions, including tai chi and cooking classes, and visits to the casino and museums. Engaging and hilarious, Hendrik’s diary gives a dignity and respect to the elderly often overlooked in popular culture, providing readers a look into the importance of friendship and the realities of the senior care system in modern society. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 07/11/2017
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-1884-4
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4555-4214-7
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-4555-4215-4
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-4511-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-7368-3
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