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The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83¼ Years Old

(Hendrik Groen #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  13,342 ratings  ·  1,914 reviews
A #1 international bestseller in the vein of Fredrik Bachman's A Man Called Ove: an irresistible, funny, charming, and tender-hearted tale about friendship, love, and an old man who is young at heart.
Technically speaking, Hendrik Groen is....elderly. But at age 83 1/4, this feisty, indomitable curmudgeon has no plans to go out quietly. Bored of weak tea and potted
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Grand Central Publishing (first published June 1st 2014)
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Carol Rizzardi I'm 62, and I read this book on the recommendation of a friend who is 87 who lives in a retirement community and who recently lost her husband of 67…moreI'm 62, and I read this book on the recommendation of a friend who is 87 who lives in a retirement community and who recently lost her husband of 67 years. We both loved it. I found it reassuring to see the strength of the friendships and the lengths to which people went to support each other. I didn't find the discussion of euthanasia at all out of place. It should be an option. As someone who has seen both parents decline over years and die protracted, painful deaths, it is something I hope I would have access to should my situation become dire.(less)

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This is a wonderful heartrending, uplifting and hilarious read. It is obviously a take on Adrian Mole but featuring an elderly curmudgeon, Hendrik Groen. It is set in a north Amsterdam nursing care home which is going to experience a whistleblowing day to day account of the lives of an eccentric bunch of residents and the rules they are subjected to, documented in the diary. Hendrik is grumpy, cynical, politically incorrect, full of life, funny and a rebel with a cause. He has two friends, Evert ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Hendrik Groen can be grumpy, mischievous, and even sarcastic when the occasion calls for it, but his more positive personality traits far outshine the negatives with his caring, thoughtful, and giving nature.

Hendrik lives in a care home in Amsterdam, and his book gives a lively look at a year in his life from his own perspective. Although he's finding it increasingly hard to get get about these days, he's far from dead, and just to prove it, he and his friends set up the 'Old But Not Dead' club.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hendrik's diary expresses all the things we all wish we could say and do. He and his cohort Evert even occasionally stir the pot by expressing those sarcastic and petulant thoughts aloud. And maybe at age 83 1/4 he has earned the right to. Between the silly rules and the cantankerous residents at his retirement home, Hendrik has much to keep him both amused and discomfited. The three G's (gossip, grousing, and gibberish) keep his days interesting.

I felt a range of emotions while reading
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan 5: She pressed three slices of cake on me when I left... Those slices have found a home in the fish tank on the third floor

Jan 7: An investigation was launched yesterday into the sudden demise of the fish on the third floor. A considerable amount of cake was found floating in the water.

Hendrik Groen doesn't like old people that much. But being as he's 83 and lives in a retirement home, they're hard to escape. He suffers from several ailments, but the good news is that his decline is
“As part of her plan of action to combat the dementia, Grietje has composed, with my help, two new notes she is to carry with her at all times: ‘What to do if I get lost’ and ‘What to do if I don’t remember exactly who someone is.’ Both notes start with: ‘Please forgive me, but I’m a bit forgetful.’
. . .

‘With a little luck, next year I’ll believe in Santa Claus again!’
said Grietje gaily.

‘Yes, just keep going the way you’re going, and you’ll get there soon enough,’ Evert egged her on. She
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
Hendrik Groen is 83 years old and living in a retirement home in Amsterdam. His secret diary is both funny and sad as he records the daily hassles of aging and of living with a host of other people in the same boat.

When this book was published the author was anonymous which may well have had something to do with the criticisms of how the Dutch elderly are treated. Mind you Australia does not do much better! In the book Hendrik and his friends take matters into their own hands and form the Not
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the north Amsterdam Care home lives Hendricks.
He reminds me of a mischievous child, one you just see as sometimes naughty but cute, cuddles and loveable because they say some awesome things on they're perception of life it makes you laugh.

This is Hendricks.

He also has a serious side he lays bare in his diary.

He's aging.
We all are aging everyday of our lives and we give it no thought. Friendships are bonded and become so important as we get older.

Very enjoyable read.
My thanks to Penguin UK via
Hendrik Groen is spending his final years in a care home in Amsterdam – he still doesn’t like the elderly; complaining, whinging lot – and he’s 83 himself. His best friend is the mischievous troublemaker Evert – between the two of them the fish in the aquarium are destined to live a short life; the stuffy boss of the home is determined to discover the culprits but Evert and Hendrik think themselves safe.

When one of the residents passes away, the room is taken by Eefje. She is a quiet,
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I love the Netherlands.

This is a somewhat honest account, written by an 84-year-old man (or not); his reflections on residing in a nursing home in Amsterdam.

This country has some of the most progressive inclinations of any modern-day society. It is also an inclusive place where people of all colors and beliefs reside peacefully, for the most part.

It is a land of incongruities. The tallest people in the world walk daily on the smallest sidewalks while it is usually drizzling
Diane S ☔
Another I am leaving unrated. After reading 30% I am putting this aside. The format is journal style, a format I usually like but frankly though there are a few funny moments, I am bored with this. An unpopulated stance going by the ratings but have learned something about myself. I seem to like books about elderly women more than those about elderly men.
“In our subtropical world of fatuous blabbermouths, you hear at least ten times a morning that everything was better in the old days.” In this anonymous Dutch novel in diary form, Hendrik Groen provides a full reckoning of how 2013 went down in his Amsterdam old folks’ care home. He and five friends form an Old But Not Dead club and take turns planning exciting weekly outings. Much comic relief is provided by his incorrigibly tippling friend, Evert, and the arrival of Eefje even makes late-life ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ~~anyone who wants a laugh~~
4 stars

What a wonderful old curmudgeon. Hendrik Groen is in a nursing home - he lives in the assisted living section. He decided to keep a journal for one year. He started his journal on January 1, 2013 when he was 83 years old. Seeing the world through his eyes - and the perspective of his closest friends - The Old But Not Dead Club - was a very humorous undertaking. From his mortification of his "dribbling" and leaving yellow stains in his white underpants, to the suggestion that people go to
Cindy Burnett
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I wish I could meet Hendrik Groen because I know I would absolutely love him. This book is one of the most touching, heart-wrenching stories that I have read in a while. Groen resides in a state-funded nursing home in Amsterdam. At 83 years old, he decides to start writing in his diary to pass the time and to “give the world an uncensored expose: a year in the life of the inmates of a care home in North Amsterdam.” Hendrik Groen proceeds to do just that; I cannot count the times I laughed out ...more
Louise Wilson
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hendrik Groen resides in a Nursing Home funded by the state in North Amsterdam. He decides to start writing a diary. He has two people he can rely on. One being Evert also a resident of the home and Anja the assistant to the Administrator for the home.

This is a funny, heartbreaking day by day revelation of how eccentric residents spend their time and the Old But Not Yet Dead Club they set up where support is given to each other due to their declining health and tragedy.

I would like to thank Net
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-i-own
I got this ARC as a give-away from Goodreads.

I waffled between 2 and 3 stars but decided on 3 in the end. While at times touching and laugh out loud funny I was also a bit bored. There was a lot of talk about Netherland politics that I really didn't care about. It took me way too long to read because of that I think. But in the end Hendrik's diary won me over. I really liked reading about him, all of his friends and their antics. I will probably seek out the second book when it is translated
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Um... what did I just read? And why are people reading this..?

This seems to be basically... what it is. A diary of an old guy. Nothing happens. There is no point to it. I made myself read to see if there's some moral that is coming up, at least, but... nope. Nothing. It's just someone's boring old diary. You could publish this right now. Your cousin could. All it seems to be is a weird commentary of an entire year, like a summary of what happened on the news in snippets through the eyes of a
Stephen Clynes
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
83 year old Hendrik Groen lives at a care home in Amsterdam. Here is his 2013 diary.

I got a lot from reading this book, the format is rather good. Remember when people published personal blogs on the web, rather than these very short snippets we now get from Facebook and Twitter? Well, Hendrik’s diary entries are very much like the best of blogs. You have a lovely mix of personal life, current day cultural trends and landmark historical occasions.

This book enables you to enter the very often
The novel opens with: "Another year, and I still don't like old people. Their walker shuffle, their unreasonable impatience, their endless complaints, their tea and cookies, their bellyaching. Me? I am eighty-three years old."

Considering that the basis of this novel is the observations of an elderly man who resides in an Amsterdam nursing home, I should be a bit guilty for chuckling through most of it. I did this so much that my husband thinks that I have 'lost the plot'.

Hilarity via truisms! In
Rebecca Carter
Hendrik Groen doesn't like old people. Their zimmer frame shuffle, unreasonable impatience, endless complaints, their tea and biscuits, smells or creaking bodies. Although he himself is 83 years old and lives in a residential care home in the Netherlands.

Hendrik is fed up of being a civil, ingratiating, courteous, polite and helpful bloke. He tends to choose the path of least confrontation to try to please everybody. To stop himself spiralling into depression and boredom - in a place where to
What a touching read. Truly this is up there with the best ones I have read. It was recommended to me by my dad's primary health professional with the words that it is one of the funniest, most poignant and cutting reads about old age you will come across. And it is.
Age is something we will all be negotiating if we are one of the fortunate ones to navigate a full span of decades in life. This guy Hendrik Groen gives a glimpse into that world we all, if we are honest, all sort of mock. That
Gina *loves sunshine*
This book was new last week to my online library - the blurb that came up immediately said >>>for fans of A Man called Ove!!! That is me, I loved Ove!!!! The other super outstanding thing that this book had was a grumpy old DUTCH man!!!! You see I married into a super large dutch family - I love all my husbands old Aunts and Uncles, I love all the culture, traditions and specific things about Dutchies - so I was super excited about this book!

I listened to the audio. I made it about 28%
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This looks like it might be a mix of Ove and Eleanor Oliphant and I am here for it!!
Got this at a used book store and am quite excited.

Lubinka Dimitrova
A bit too heavy on the reality for my taste, and although it had its funny moments, I'd rather not rush my acquaintance with the desperation of old age, it will come too soon as it is.
Mairead Hearne (
‘Another year, and I still don’t like old people. Their Zimmer-frame shuffle, their unreasonable impatience. their endless complaints, their tea and biscuits, their bellyaching.

Me? I am eighty-three years old.’

The No.1 International Bestseller The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old was published in paperback on 13th July by Penguin. Originally published in Holland in 2014, this book has become something of a phenomenon. (Note : Translated to English by Hester Velmans)

Please do
Stephanie Anze
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"I can't make the reality prettier than it is: sad, grim and funny all at once."

Henrik Groen is an elderly retiree that lives in a home in Amsterdam. Tired of weak tea, bland food and a dull existance, Henrik has decided to rebel. At 83 years old, he is going to make the most out of life. Along with his best friend Evert, Henrik founds the Old-But-Not-Dead Club. Periodically each member plans an outing, something to break the monotonous routine from the home. Despite the glances of the other
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 years old' by Hendrik Groen is a year in the life of Hendrik Groen who lives in a nursing home. My only worry when I started this book was whether it could hold my interest for the complete year of the diary. I needn't have worried the book did more than hold my attention it was full of little anecdotes that amused and even laugh out loud at times. There are some wonderful characters in this book and even a love interest. Some of the residents form a club ...more
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen is not something I would have picked up myself, but I am glad I got the chance to read it. Hendrik is living out his time in a care home, and this books is his daily musings and recording of all that he sees and does in his care home.

Hendrik starts out as a bit of a chranky old man, but the further in the reader gets, the more we see the real Hendrik. He doesn’t want to be an old man in the usual sense, he doesn’t want to spend his latter years passing the time
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 years old is the first book by Dutch old age pensioner and care home resident, Hendrik Groen. Hendrik starts his diary on the 1st January, 2013 with the aim of “giving the world an uncensored expose: a year in the life of the inmates of a care home in North Amsterdam”.

Hendrik’s descriptions of the goings-on, the staff and residents at his care home are witty, dry, often sarcastic and usually funny. The home’s director “Mrs Stelwagen is always friendly, ready
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book stalked me in Montreal. So I got a copy when I got back to the US.

Do you know who Henry Root is? The British guy who wrote all the letters, including one to the Queen asking her to close a few things?

This is somewhat a Henry Root crossed with One Foot in the Grave crossed with that British show about the nursing home with the actor that reminded me of my college Shakespeare prof.

Yes, that one.

Supposedly a diary of a retirement home resident, the book chronicles a man's dealing with
K.E. Coles
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Sometimes funny, but sometimes achingly sad. The characters feel real and believable. They're written with such humanity and love that I grew to care about them all, even the grumpy ones. I loved Hendrik and his rebellious group of friends, particularly Evert - a disreputable (and hilarious) old rogue. What a fantastic character! I did laugh, but also cried reading it. With my own father approaching his 83rd birthday, it felt even more poignant for me. In the end though, it's a positive book and ...more
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Hendrik Groen, pseudonym of Peter de Smet, is a Dutch writer. He is the author of the book Pogingen iets van het leven te maken: Het geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen, 83 jaar (The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 Years Old) published in 2014. That book was awarded in 2016 with the Audience Award for the Dutch Book. The sequel Zolang er leven is: het tweede geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen, 85 ...more

Other books in the series

Hendrik Groen (3 books)
  • Zolang er leven is - Het tweede geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen, 85 jaar
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“Forgive me, I’m being a bit crude and rude about this, but I can’t make the reality prettier than it is: sad, grim, and funny all at once.” 41 likes
“Only trivial annoyances still matter. “If Greece goes bankrupt the bingo prizes will probably get smaller,” was Mrs. Schouten’s analysis of the eurozone crisis.” 14 likes
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