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On The Bright Side : The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen - Hendrik Groen

On The Bright Side

The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen

Paperback

Published: 29th January 2018
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85-year-old Hendrik Groen is fed up to his false teeth with coffee mornings and bingo.

He dreams of escaping the confines of his care home and practicing hairpin turns on his mobility scooter. Inspired by his fellow members of the recently formed Old-But-Not-Dead Club, he vows to put down his Custard Cream and commit to a spot of octogenarian anarchy.

But the care home's Director will not stand for drunken bar crawls, illicit fireworks and geriatric romance on her watch. The Old-But-Not-Dead Club must stick together if they're not to go gently into that good night. Things turn more serious, however, when rumours surface that the home is set for demolition. It's up to Hendrik and the gang to stop it - or drop dead trying . . .

He may be the wrong side of 85, but Hendrik Groen has no intention of slowing up - or going down without a fight.

Praise for Hendrik Groen

'A story with a great deal of heart, it pulled me in with its self-deprecating humour, finely drawn characters and important themes. Anyone who hopes to grow old with dignity will have much to reflect on' – Graeme Simsion

'There are many laughs in this book but it's so much more than just a comedy. It's a story about how friendship, selflessness and dignity lie at the heart of the human experience. When I'm an old man, I want to be Hendrik Groen' – John Boyne

'A funny but also touching diary praised for its wit and realism' – BBC Radio 4 Front Row

'I laughed until I cried and then laughed and cried some more' – David Suchet

'Thoughtful, anxious and gruff... Laced with humour' – The Best New Fiction, Mail on Sunday

'Amusing [and] wickedly accurate ... I was constantly put in mind of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, another comi-tragedy concerning the tyranny of institutions of the unwanted. Enjoy Groen's light touch but do not be fooled by it. We live in an ageing society. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen is a handbook of resistance for our time' – Sunday Express

'Highly entertaining ... a delightful and touching saga of one man's way of coping with old age ... we may assume that Hendrik Groen is a character of fiction. But it is a fiction so closely based on the observation of real life that it is utterly convincing' – Daily Express

'A joy to read, as much concerned with friendship and dignity as it is with the debilitating effects of aging ... An entertaining and uplifting story of a man in the winter of his days, stoic in the face of bureaucratic nonsense and an unabashed need to wear a nappy. Imagined or not, this is the diary of someone who wants nothing more than to be allowed see out his days with dignity and respect. It's not too much to ask, really, is it?' – John Boyne Irish Times

'Full of off-beat charm and quirky characters' – Cathy Rentzenbrink, Stylist

'Hendrik pens an exposé of his care home, sets up the Old-But-Not-Dead club and relishes the arrival of a new female resident. This geriatric Adrian Mole made me laugh and think. Terrific' – Fanny Blake, Woman and Home

WRITE A REVIEW

humour, heartache & plenty to think about

4

On The Bright Side is the second instalment of The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, written by Dutch Care Facility resident, Hendrik Groen, alias Dutch librarian, Peter de Smet. Hendrik is now eighty-five and, after a year's hiatus due to grief over the passing of his good friend, Eefje Brand, he has once again decided to note down the year's events, starting in January 2015. The Old But Not Dead Club gets back into swing, with two new members replacing one deceased, and one now in the dementia ward. In addition to their usual outings, they resolve to enjoy ethnic dinners on a regular basis, and make another International foray. Despite Director Stelwagen's efforts to minimise all pleasure while maximising her control over all residents, Henk and his cronies manage to stage an almost-complete coup of the Residents' Committee. As well as events of note in his daily life, Groen also remarks on current affairs, including the antics of politicians, the salaries of executives, elections, corruption, the King, the Middle East, and news in the sphere of care facilities. Sometimes the anecdotes are probably funnier if the reader is familiar with Dutch personages, but often the commentary is applicable universally: just change the names. Of course, one hazard of living to a ripe old age like 85 (apart from the organ recital, in which those around you detail their ailing organs) is that friends and acquaintances begin to drop off the perch. Not unexpectedly a member of the Old But Not Dead club gets an adverse diagnosis. But perhaps most worrying for the club and the Residents Committee are the empty rooms, usually filled post-haste, but now unoccupied. Do these spell the closure and demolition of their abode? Amongst the spate of books about the elderly in care facilities that are meant to amuse or divert, (Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg's The Little Old Lady Who… , Jonas Jonasson's Hundred-Year-Old Man Who…) this one requires the least suspension of disbelief. It is reali

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On The Bright Side

4.0 1

100.0

I laughed until I cried and then laughed and cried some more -- David Suchet
Thoughtful, anxious and gruff... Laced with humour -- Best New Fiction * Mail on Sunday *
Full of off-beat charm and quirky characters -- Cathy Rentzenbrink * Stylist *
A story with a great deal of heart, it pulled me in with its self-deprecating humour, finely drawn characters and important themes. Anyone who hopes to grow old with dignity will have much to reflect on -- Graeme Simsion
Amusing [and] wickedly accurate ... I was constantly put in mind of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, another comi-tragedy concerning the tyranny of institutions of the unwanted. Enjoy Groen's light touch but do not be fooled by it. We live in an ageing society. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen is a handbook of resistance for our time -- ***** FIVE STARS * Sunday Express *
There are many laughs in this book but it's so much more than just a comedy. It's a story about how friendship, selflessness and dignity lie at the heart of the human experience. When I'm an old man, I want to be Hendrik Groen -- John Boyne
Highly entertaining ... a delightful and touching saga of one man's way of coping with old age ... we may assume that Hendrik Groen is a character of fiction. But it is a fiction so closely based on the observation of real life that it is utterly convincing * Daily Express *
A joy to read, as much concerned with friendship and dignity as it is with the debilitating effects of aging ... An entertaining and uplifting story of a man in the winter of his days, stoic in the face of bureaucratic nonsense and an unabashed need to wear a nappy. Imagined or not, this is the diary of someone who wants nothing more than to be allowed see out his days with dignity and respect. It's not too much to ask, really, is it? -- John Boyne * Irish Times *
Praise for The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 831/4 Years Old * - *
Very funny -- Jeremy Paxman * Financial Times *
Terrific. This geriatric Adrian Mole made me laugh -- Fanny Blake * Woman and Home *
I laughed until I cried and then laughed and cried some more -- David Suchet
So much more than just a comedy. It's a story about how friendship, selflessness and dignity lie at the heart of the human experience. When I'm an old man, I want to be Hendrik Groen. -- John Boyne
A story with a great deal of heart, it pulled me in with its self-deprecating humour, finely drawn characters and important themes. Anyone who hopes to grow old with dignity will have much to reflect on -- Graeme Simsion
A funny but also touching diary praised for its wit and realism * BBC Radio 4 Front Row *
Hendrik pens an expose of his care home, sets up the Old-But-Not-Dead club and relishes the arrival of a new female resident. This geriatric Adrian Mole made me laugh and think. Terrific -- Fanny Blake * Woman and Home *
Very funny * Financial Times *

ISBN: 9780718186647
ISBN-10: 0718186648
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 29th January 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.2 x 15.5  x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.55
Edition Number: 1