Late last year I read, The Bright Side, which was the story of Hendrik Groen and his life in an Amsterdam care home. I absolutely loved it. It was such a humorous and uplifting book about friendship. And it turns out it was actually the second book by Hendrik Groen. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen is his first story of life in the care home. Set in 2013, there is an entry for pretty much every day of the year.
Hendrik is worried about becoming a grumpy old man, like his fellow care home residents. Then Eefje moves in next door and, in his own geriatric way, Hendrik falls in love. With Eefje and his rebellious old friend, Evert, they create the Old But Not Dead Club. This group of care home residents is determined to enjoy life and sets out on a series of days out and adventures not usually enjoyed by the elderly.
This is another heartwarming and uplifting read, but not without its share of sadness. When a group of friends are in their 80s, things are never going to go completely smoothly for them with their health.
It was lovely to revisit Hendrik and the Old But Not Dead Club. Some characters don’t make it all the way to The Bright Side, although they are mentioned, so it is nice to see what they were like when they really were Old But Not Dead.
If you enjoy reading about friendship, I would definitely recommend The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen and The Bright Side. They just go to prove that just because someone needs a mobility scooter to get around and has to wear a nappy, they’re definitely not dead.
There is no author name or ghost writer other than Hendrik Groen named on either book. These books are completely believable. Some think they are autobiographical, others think they are clever works of fiction. I like to think that they are real and that Hendrik and the remaining members of the Old But Not Dead Club are still causing havoc in their care home.