~Blog Tour Review~ The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83¼ Years Old by Hendrik Groen (Author), Hester Velmans (Translator)

Hi all,

Today is my stop on the blog for The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old and I get to share my review with you all!

About the book:

Meet Hendrik Groen. An octogenarian in a care home who has no intention of doing what he’s told, or dying quietly. To that end, he creates the Old-But-Not-Dead Club and with his fellow members sets about living his final years with careless abandon. Such anarchism infuriates the care home director but pleases Eefje, the woman who makes Hendrik’s frail heart palpitate. If it’s never too late to have fun, then can it ever be too late to meet the love of your life?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author and translator:

Hendrik Groen started his diaries on the literary website of Torpedo magazine. He says about his work: ‘There’s not one sentence that’s a lie, but not every word is true.’ His first diary, the international bestseller The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old has been translated into over thirty languages and is being adapted for television. His second diary went straight to number 1 in the Netherlands. He is currently working on a standalone novel.

Hester Velmans (Translator) 
Hester Velmans is the author of two popular children’s novels and a translator specializing in modern fiction. Her translation of Renate Dorrestein’s A Heart of Stone won the Vondel Prize for Translation and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her translation of Lulu Wang’s The Lily Theater was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Her children’s book Isabel of the Whales now has a sibling: the second in the Whales Series, Jessaloup’s Song (age 10 and up).

My review:

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen is not something I would have picked up myself, but I am glad I got the chance to read it. Hendrik is living out his time in a care home, and this books is his daily musings and recording of all that he sees and does in his care home.

Hendrik starts out as a bit of a chranky old man, but the further in the reader gets, the more we see the real Hendrik. He doesn’t want to be an old man in the usual sense, he doesn’t want to spend his latter years passing the time until the inevitable happens.

Cue The Old But Not Dead Club. Hendrik and his friends decide to make the most of their time. They go on excursions, day trips, take classes and whatever else takes their fancy. Why should they wilt on chairs in the conversation room when they can be out living their lives!

The Secret Diary… serves as a bit of routine for Hendrik too. He records his thoughts on everything from current affairs, to who poisoned the fish in the fish tank by feeding them cake! There are moments of levity, humour and so much more. There is also the expected references to deaths of fellow residents, falls and injuries, Alzheimers, Dementia and plenty of other sad facts of life. Parts of this are a little sad too, but it is something that happens on a daily basis.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen was an easy read. It was full of colourful characters, funny little interludes and had a lovely undercurrent of hope for the future, regardless of what it brings. An unusual read for me, but I enjoyed it!


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