Hi guys! Not so long ago, because it was July 2017, I read and incredibly enjoyed “The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old” – you can read my review here. When I heard that there is going to be a second diary, I really couldn’t wait to reconnect with the lovely, full of chutzpah and life characters and there really was no question if I’d like to be a part of the blog tour – of course! For Hendrik – anytime!
On the Bright Side: The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publishing Date: 11th January 2018
Source: Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Biographical Fiction
The new diary from one of literature’s most beloved octogenarians.
On The Bright Side picks up where The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen left off, at the care home of the anarchic Old-But-Not-Dead Club where Hendrik and his friends are determined to enjoy their autumn years full of optimism. Written with his characteristic charm and humour Hendrik proves, yet again, that age is simply a number.
Oh, it was a real joy to read book 2 in the Hendrik Groen’s Secret Diary series – I had no idea that I missed him, his octogenarian club and their antics so much! I love Hendrik’s spirit, his plans for the future and his dark humour. If you don’t know Hendrik yet, he’s 85 years old and lives in a care home in Amsterdam. He and some of his cronies founded the Old But Not Dead club, arranging day trips and also visiting differently themed restaurants for food sampling. And they are not as innocent as they might seem, they are causing a lot of troubles in their care home – they really have a spirit!
This is a real diary, as Hendrik writes about his days and the things that happened in the care home. He’s the first to cause a mayhem but there is also this gentle, vulnerable side to him – he has experienced so many things in his life, also some of the most sad ones, and he really knows what he’s talking about. He may be old but he has a spirit and reading about him is like reading more about a school boy. His friend Evert complete him in a perfect way, as he’s the more naughty one, and they both together are unstoppable duo – whenever they appear, there is a mischief and laughter. But there is also a great depth to all the characters, they have experience, they have souls, they have great personalities.
I think this time the books speaks even more loudly to you because you like the characters so much, you keep your fingers crossed for them, and there is now the more serious case of declining health, the looming presence of death. It may sound darker, and it is darker, and more sorrowful read, but there is still a lot of charm to it and it tugs at the heart – strings.
This book is full of dark and intelligent humour but there is also the more serious and poignant side to it, perfectly hidden under all this humour but not to overlooked. It deals with things that we often choose to ignore with humour, wit and gentleness, and the author really does a great job with describing the older age in such a forthcoming and entertaining way (kudos to the translator here as well, as the translation is absolutely brilliant!). I think I enjoyed this second part in Hendrik’s memories better, even though it was a little more on the darker, more serious side but still it was a great entertainment.
It is a story about enjoying life, full of emotions and feelings, filled to brims with outrageous escapades and poignant moments. It’s about not giving up, about dignity of old age, about friendship. Touching and very up – to – date, mentioning events and issues that are our present, it was a great pleasure to read. Recommended!
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