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Pogingen iets van het leven te maken: Het geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen, 83¼ jaar
Archive: Other Books > The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 years old by Hendrik Groen - 4 stars

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Ellen | 2214 comments Residing in an assisted living home in Amsterdam, Hendrik is bored with the everyday routines of his life. Always a quiet, unassuming man, he wants to live his last years making plans and having fun. He, his best friend Evert, and 6 other residents form the "Old But Not Dead Club". They take turns arranging secret outings for their club, liberally laced with food and wine, and soon become the envy of the other inhabitants. Hendrik even feels the stirrings of romance with the beautiful widow, Eefje, and gains back a bit of his independence with the purchase of a motorized cart. The Club is the bane of the no-nonsense home director who is always quick to tell everyone that what they are doing is against regulations, although when pressed to produce said regulations, she insists that that too is against regulations. Hendrik documents an entire year of his life in his secret diary. There are many days of laughter and fun but it is also laced with sadness and tragedy.

I will admit that I started reading this expecting another "Man Called Ove" type of story. This is certainly not Ove. Hendrik and Ove are both elderly and think about death, but there the similarities end. Hendrik fights to keep on living with as much gusto as he can grab at age 83 1/4. I like his character and those of his Club members. At times the book moves very slowly as Hendrik writes about politics and nursing home reform, but on the whole it was a lovely story.

Sushicat | 804 comments I loved this one. I just got the second volume from Netgalley.

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