Book Review: The Secret Diary of Henrik Groen by Henrik Groen

You are born, you die, and the rest is just marking time

This originally Dutch book is a phenomenon everywhere. I thought it was funny, but it wasn’t as great as everyone makes it out to be.

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old by Henrik Groen


Title & Author: The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old by Henrik Groen
Genre: Contemporary, Humor
Release date: August 25 2016
Series: Henrik Groen
Publisher: Michael Joseph


‘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.

I give The Secret Diary of Henrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old by Hendrik Groen three out of five hearts because it was an okay read, just not worth the hype.

Henrik is an elderly man in a care home. He describes his interactions with his co-elderly and friends. But he also complains about his illnesses. He is cute and very witty in his old age, he is aware it’s a way of coping with becoming elderly and losing things in life (like having to wear adult diapers).

My main problem with the book, however, is that it sometimes wasn’t as funny if you really think about it. Someone dies and Henrik is happy not to have to go to the funeral because he barely knew the person and he makes fun of the others problems. Getting older and decrapped is not a funny thing, it is real and hurtful when you lose your memories. I have gone through this with a family member and for those people these things are hurtful.

Overall I would say, if you like funny books and you don’t have family members in a care home because they are ill, then go ahead and read this book. For me it was a lot of laughing and then coming to a sudden standstill and feeling hurt when he says something that killed the mood for me.

Let me know what you thought of this book!
If you have any requests for which book I should talk about next, please let me know in the comments down below.

For now, let books enrich your life!


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