About the Book
The Old-But-Not-Dead Club return, in the sequel to the INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old, bringing with them some life-affirming lawlessness.
Chaos will ensue as 85-year-old Hendrik Groen is determined to grow old with dignity: to rise up against the care home director. NO more bingo. NO more over- boiled vegetables. NO more health and safety.
85-year-old Hendrik Groen is fed up to his false teeth with coffee mornings and bingo. He dreams of escaping the confines of his care home and practising hairpin turns on his mobility scooter. Inspired by his fellow members of the recently formed Old-But-Not-Dead Club, he vows to put down his custard cream and commit to a spot of octogenarian anarchy.
But the care home’s Director will not stand for drunken bar crawls, illicit fireworks and geriatric romance on her watch. The Old-But-Not-Dead Club must stick together if they’re not to go gently into that good night. Things turn more serious, however, when rumours surface that the home is set for demolition. It’s up to Hendrik and the gang to stop it – or drop dead trying . . .
He may be the wrong side of 85, but Hendrik Groen has no intention of slowing up – or going down without a fight.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book featuring octogenarian Hendrik Groen and his group of friends so I was looking forward to reading about what they got up to in this new novel. I wasn’t disappointed.
With this book I decided to read a month at a time and found it more engaging. All of the characters reappear along with some new ones and they continue with their antics. Mainly to enjoy some good times together and annoy other residents and staff whilst doing so.
Hendrik talks about the devastation he feels over the loss of his daughter, his wife’s health and the news that he mentions throughout the book. Much of the reports concern the atrocities that occurred in France but Dutch politics is also mentioned. We also see his reaction to the failing health of a very dear friend and how the close-knit group helped him cope.
It’s a lovely book to read, different because it most of the characters are elderly but still shows spirit, devotion and humour.
About the Book
‘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 exposé: 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.
Likened to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Hendrik Groen’s diary is all about loyalty, friendship and tolerance. Or at times intolerance. Hendrik is bored with existence. He is fed up of listening to people discussing their various ailments in the ‘conversation room’, the communal area in the residential home he lives in.
His closest friend, Evert provides laughter, usually by upsetting the other people who they live with in the home. They decide to get together with a few other close friends and take it in turns to plan days out. They call themselves the Old but Not Dead Club. Much of their pleasure comes from the level of disgust and envy that this causes among the ones that are not invited and the director of the home.
At first I liked it a lot but I think I would have preferred it if I hadn’t read it all at once. It’s definitely a book that you can read a few pages at a time and it probably would have had more impact if I had done that. There was a lot of humour, but also sadness when friends became ill. But one of the main points throughout regarding the illness was that the people who coped better were the ones who were ill. Hendrik, the diarist, who despite the odd ailment was a very healthy 83 year old suffered more than most.
I loved his battles with the home director, his friendships with Evert and Eefje and the complete dedication that he showed in caring for them. Some of his frustration towards the Dutch politicians didn’t really mean anything to me but I appreciated his cynical swipe at a certain British ex Prime Minister.
Since reading it I have read various articles on the internet, the author is anonymous and there are rumours of a sequel. It is one that I would definitely read, and prepare myself for the inevitable. That age and deteriorating health would bring more sadness to the little group of friends.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.