On the Bright Side by Hendrik Groen

I picked up On the Bright Side as part of a pile of books I bought with a Waterstones voucher for my birthday. When I came to read it a few months later, I wondered what I’d been thinking of. It didn’t really sound like my cup of tea and also it was described as: ‘For everyone who loved The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’. I’ll be honest, The Hundred-Year-Old Man left me slightly underwhelmed

But this book is so much more than its blurb and so much better than The Hundred-Year-Old Man

What I hadn’t realised from looking at the cover is that this is a genuine diary of a man in his 80s. And it is very, very funny. Hendrik lives in a large care home in Amsterdam and has a group of friends – the Old-But-Not-Dead Club, who are every bit as sharp and witty as he is. Together, the Old-But-Not-Deads go on day trips and visit restaurants. They go out for rides on their mobility scooters, keep up with current affairs and have a laugh together. All while wearing a nappy…

When vacant rooms at the care home start getting left empty, the Old-But-Not-Deads fear there are plans to close the home. So they resurrect the Residents’ Committee and start having regular meetings with management to find out what is going on.

On the Bright Side is a mixture of accounts of what Hendrik and his friends have done, observations from the nursing home (where they ‘accidentally’ spill food on any resident who is horrible to anyone else) and comments on the world around them – from new animals at the zoo to terrorism across Europe.

I absolutely loved this book. You would never believe it had been written by an 85-year-old man, as it so funny and so well-observed. It really does prove that just because a person rides a mobility scooter and wears a nappy, he definitely isn’t dead.

I would recommend this On the Bright Side to anyone who loves life and values friendship. It really is a positive and uplifting read.

(And it turns out that it is actually the second book in a series, so I will need to go back and read the first one.)

On the Bright Side, Book review, On the Bright Side by Hendrik Groen, Hendrik Groen

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. This sounds rather light-hearted and entertaining! Thank you for the recommendation #readwithme

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    • It’s such a feel good read. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

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    • I really like Harold Fry, but it isn’t like that. It is a brilliant read though. I would recommend it to anyone.

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    • I’m sure you would absolutely love it. It’s the most heartwarming book, but very humorous too.

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