On the Bright Side

The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 85 Years Old


By Hendrik Groen

Read by Patrick Ryecart

Translated by Hester Velmans

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In the acclaimed follow-up to the #1 international bestseller The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, everyone’s favorite curmudgeon is back and as funny and charming as ever with the newest adventures of the Old-But-Not-Dead Club — for fans of Frederik Backman and Graeme Simsion.

Everyone’s favorite octogenarian is back and, together with his pals in the Old-But-Not-Dead Club, he is more determined than ever to wreak havoc and turn a twinkly eye on the brighter side of life.

After a year spent mourning the death of his beloved friend Eefje, Hendrik may be older and a little more wobbly, but his youthful appetite for mischief hasn’t diminished. When fears arise that the home is set for demolition, it’s up to Hendrik and the Old-But-Not-Dead Club to intervene.





Wednesday, December 31, 2014

According to the statistics, on this last day of the year a man of eighty-five has approximately an 80 percent chance of reaching December 31, 2015. I am going by numbers from the National Public Health Compass.

I shall do my best, but there's to be no whining if the diary I'm starting tomorrow does not make it all the way through to the end of the year. A one-in-five chance.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Evert used to be partial to planting his New Year's firecrackers in dog poo or, even more spectacularly, horse droppings, but those were, of course, less common. He's only sorry that the bangers were much smaller back then than they are now.

"It's only that I'd risk blowing myself up, wheelchair and all, otherwise I'd love to set off a few crackers in the hall." That was his contribution to the pyrotechnics debate that's been going on for days.

In spite of a petition from the residents, our director, Mrs. Stelwagen, did nothing about getting our care home declared a firework-free zone. A short statement on the noticeboard announced she did not think it "opportune" at this time. She probably had a point, some of the residents decided, especially those who didn't know what "opportune" meant. Others thought Stelwagen didn't want to get into a spat with the local authorities.


Our Old But Not Dead Club celebrated New Year's Eve in Evert's sheltered housing flat, where cooking is allowed, an activity that's not permitted in the rooms of those of us living in the care home. With top ex-chefs Antoine and Ria in our ranks, we can't afford to pass up any gastronomic occasion.

At 11:45 we all trooped up to Graeme's room, on the top floor. We watched the fireworks from his balcony, and Evert fired off a single illicit rocket on behalf of us all, as a mutinous raspberry aimed at the management. It was very pretty.

We can't wait to see who will snitch on us.

Edward volunteered to be the scapegoat chewed out by the director, if it should come to that. He promised to make his speech even harder to understand than usual, and to present a report—in writing—at the next Old But Not Dead Club meeting.

In short: we had a blast.

I did not get to bed until 2 a.m. It's been decades since I've managed to stay up that late. Bravo Hendrik.

Friday, January 2

This past year there was a great void in my days. I had spent all of 2013 faithfully keeping a diary. That hour (or hour and a half) of daily writing had given me a sense of usefulness and value. The most salient hallmark of life in an old-age home may well be the lack of duties or responsibilities. Everything is taken care of for you. There is no need for reflection. Life goes down as easily as custard without any lumps. Open up; swallow; all gone!

There are plenty of residents who are quite satisfied with this permanent, all-inclusive holiday, but for myself and a number of my friends, the idleness of the care-home existence does nothing for our day-to-day contentment. This diary will give me a sense of purpose again. It forces me to stay alert, to put my eyes to work and my ear to the ground, and obliges me to follow the developments in our care home as well as what's happening in the rest of the world. I shall be exercising the brain cells on a daily basis to keep my thoughts fresh and organized. Brain gymnastics to keep the mind sharp. This past year I found myself thinking all too often what a shame it was that I was no longer writing things down, when, for instance, another old geezer made a spectacle of himself, the staff made a dog's dinner of something, or the director lorded it all too snootily over her underlings. I feel like throwing my hat in the ring again.

Saturday, January 3

One care home director has set a good example in the papers by telling the truth: "The standards that we, as a society, have set for the professional care of the elderly cannot be met under the present circumstances."

In other words: it can't be helped if, from time to time, a diaper doesn't get changed promptly enough, or a set of teeth goes missing, or an inmate has to be tied to the bed for a while. Unfortunate, but alas. If all the activists, all the sensation-seeking scandalmongers of the press and all thirty-two care home inspection agencies want this to change, they will have to persuade the electorate to agree to a hefty insurance rate increase. Good luck with that!

I intend to press that article personally into our director's hands.

Yes, that's a surprise, isn't it? Meek Hendrik is no more. He doesn't yet deserve to be called Brave Hendrik, but a year ago, at my dear friend Eefje's funeral, I did resolve to drop my fainthearted caution once and for all. I am more and more inclined to speak my mind, and it usually feels great when I do so. I do still need to work up my nerve, my heart in my mouth, but after some hesitation I'll jump in with both feet from the high diving board, coming up for air sputtering but triumphant. The support I receive from the other members of the Old But Not Dead Club is invaluable. Especially from Evert, who is not only my best friend but also someone who has no trouble at all speaking his mind, and he always has my back.


This year we have once again been promised a "horror winter." In spite of all previous erroneous predictions of extreme cold, this prognosis is being taken very seriously. My fellow inmates have stocked up for winter like nobody's business. The cupboards are bursting with biscuits, chocolates, soft drinks, and toilet paper. This last item is on account of the fact that we now have to provide it ourselves, due to economic cutbacks. Ever since these were instituted, we are being much more frugal about wiping ourselves, with all attendant consequences thereof. What is saved on paper is spent on extra laundry soap.

Sunday, January 4

Mrs. Stelwagen is no longer surprised when I give her a newspaper article to read or some other piece of unsolicited advice.

Stelwagen is not concerned with anything but her own self-interest: her reputation, which hinges on peace in her domain, and meek inmates. She knows I'm aware of this. She also knows that I enjoy a certain amount of support from my co-residents, which she is ill-advised to underestimate, and she does not.

The conflict between the director and the Old But Not Dead Club is careful and subtle, with the occasional small victory for one, and then the other. Open warfare would do none of us any good. The stakes are too high.

"Thank you so much, Mr. Groen. You have found something again that will be of use to us, no doubt?"

"Indeed. An interesting article about a colleague of yours. About standards of care and transparency about such things."

"I am all for transparency; transparency whenever at all possible. And always subject to the general good."

"The general good is a hat that fits many different heads, Mrs. Stelwagen."

"You are so right, Mr. Groen."

Such, more or less, is the tone of our exchanges. Afterward I'll usually need a few moments to calm myself down, but it's worth it. A shot of adrenaline once in a while can't hurt.

Monday, January 5

The weather was splendid yesterday afternoon, so I decided to test my ability to make it to my benches on foot. It's 430 yards to bench number one, 650 yards to bench number two, and finally another 430 yards back home. These distances are a rough estimate.

I did manage it, although with some effort. My roaming orbit has held steady for about a year, and I conclude that, in this case, holding steady is progress.

The fact is: for me, the fastest way to get somewhere is to take it slow. That way I won't fall flat on my face as I proceed from one bench to the next. The trick is to walk very calmly, yet at the same time give a sprightly impression. It's not easily done. Eschewing the Zimmer frame, I rely on a cane that once belonged to my father, which I tend to swing just a bit too high in the air. Then, catching my breath on the bench, I try to look as vivacious as possible. Vain old Hendrik. God knows what for.


The daily journal writing is already having a positive effect. I am glad I picked up the pen again, and regret having neglected it for a year.

Over the next few days I shall recap the lost year of 2014 as pertains to the happenings in our home.

Tuesday, January 6

The most important event of 2014 took place when the year was just two days old: Eefje's funeral. My darling lay there like a beautiful Snow White somewhat on in years, until the lid of the casket was closed for good.

The funeral service was solemn, with beautiful music and moving eulogies. But none of it was of much comfort to me.

The main reason I did not feel like writing for all those months is that I missed her. When I sat down at the computer, for instance, I would find myself writing her name. It has taken time for the wound to heal.

The second most important event was in November, when Grietje moved to "the other side"—the locked ward. Mr. Alzheimer arrived sooner than expected. She had begun losing her way, and then it was happening more and more frequently: both literally, attempting to find her flat on the wrong floor, and figuratively, when she suddenly had no idea what a teapot was for. She was able to laugh it off, right until the end. She was in a muddle, but cheerfully so. Never angry, never scared. The day they moved her into the dementia ward, she was seen happily trotting after the trolley carrying her belongings.

Nobody would mind having dementia if they could be like her. But when I visit Grietje I see that she is the rose among thorns.

In Hillegom, a town twenty-five miles from Amsterdam, a number of people with dementia from the nursing home Den Weeligenberg were selected to return to independent living. In sheltered housing, but still. I've had a good look around the locked ward here, but wouldn't give anyone the keys to their own room again. Unless it's to test an emergency scenario: what to do in case of a flood, a fire, or an explosion, for instance. Could it be that some of the people in Hillegom had been locked away a bit too soon?


Mrs. Quint, a professional pessimist, predicts there will be an attempt on Pope Francis's life. With half a ginger biscuit in her mouth, she was absolutely positive. "He won't make it to the end of the year, no matter how hard we pray for him," she declared, cheerfully spraying biscuit crumbs in every direction.

Evert wanted to bet her €100 that this amiable earthly representative of Jesus Christ would still be fit as a fiddle on January 1, 2016, but Quint was not quite that confident in her own predictions.

I must say that Francis has my warmest sympathy, if only because he rides in a white 1984 Renault 4.

I wonder what happened to that funny old Popemobile?

Wednesday, January 7

Last year was a watershed for our Old But Not Dead Club. With Eefje's passing we lost our foremost pillar of strength, and in the spring Grietje too had to stop coming along on our excursions, because she kept wanting to touch everything. That created a bit of trouble for us with the guards in the Rijksmuseum.

"I just want to know what it feels like."

"I'm afraid that's not permitted, madam."

"Oh, in that case I won't do it again, promise." Two galleries farther on, her vow was already forgotten.


But there is also good news: we have taken on two new members. On my recommendation, my friend Mr. Geert Hoogdalen joined the club in the spring. He is a man of few words and the proud owner of a mobility scooter souped up like a Ferrari. Shortly afterward Edward nominated Mrs. Van der Horst to become a member. He thought she would make up for his own aphasia, which is making his speech less and less comprehensible, as well as compensating for Geert's taciturnity. Leonie Van der Horst loves to talk, is cheerful, a bit crazy and brimming with ideas. And she likes Evert, who hardly returns the favor, which in turn makes Leonie even more inclined to stroke his bald head.

In short: two wonderful new assets for the club.


The Health Care Law has been the topic of conversation for months now. Even though we have yet to be deprived of even one cup of tea, some residents claim they are feeling the pinch of the cutbacks already.

When I asked Mrs. Slothouwer, as usual the loudest voice in the room, to give us an example of how it's affecting her, she couldn't think of anything other than, "Oh, there he goes again, Mr. Groen and his examples!"

Mrs. Slothouwer and her sister used to be a formidable team. Since her sister's sudden passing last year, the surviving Slothouwer has added her sister's portion of malice to her own.

I received some support. "Well, I, for one, agree with the Right Honorable gentleman Groen. Mrs. Slothouwer; do give us an example," Graeme said. At that point she dropped the subject.

Thursday, January 8

The news of the slaughter at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo has affected me deeply. It doesn't often happen that I get emotional over something in the news, but yesterday I was terribly upset all day long.

And, as if by mutual agreement, my fellow residents refrained from the usual inane commentary. Only Mr. Bakker couldn't help himself, declaring that every foreigner with a beard ought to be put behind bars.

"You mean, Sinterklaas—St. Nicholas—and Father Christmas, for instance?" asked Leonie.

"No, not them, of course not. Just the brown and black ones."

One longs to seal his mouth with duct tape, leaving just a small hole for a straw to suck up his liquid food.

As far as I know this home has never had an Islamic resident. I suspect aged Turks and Moroccans either live out their last days in the land of their birth, or are kept prisoner in the flats of their children, unable to navigate the building's stairs.

There are some Muslims among the staff, but it would never occur to the residents to engage a hijab-wearing cleaner or housekeeper in a conversation about Allah. We don't know a thing about them; they don't know a thing about us.

I may have mentioned this before, but God and I have agreed to leave each other alone. And a god who, for whatever reason, promises seventy-two virgins as a reward in the afterlife seems to me, of all the gods, one of the dumbest. If only for the fact that a virile fellow would be done deflowering his virgins within a couple of days. And besides, isn't there a reward for women?

There's going to be a minute's silence shortly. I'd like to raise a clenched fist holding my pen in the air, but I fear no one will understand.

Friday, January 9

The Taskforce for Independent Living has sent a letter to every mayor in the country to call attention to the new transition guidelines for elder care. Old people don't like change, but "transition" they don't mind as much.

The mandate of care homes used to be the three Cs: comfort, control, and companionship. Well, oddly enough, the authorities seem to have lost sight of those three Cs a bit.

The goal today is for old people to remain in their own homes for as long as they are able. That may sound like a splendid idea, but it does have its drawbacks. According to the Central Statistics Bureau, there are 300,000 extremely lonely old-age pensioners in our country. Most of them live at home, and the new directives would have them continuing to live independently and be extremely lonely for as long as possible.

That's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The idea of using care homes to look after the comfort, control, and companionship of the elderly is fine in principle. It just fails in the execution. What old-age homes actually stand for is infantilizing, dependence, and laziness.

You often read about groups of old people looking for new forms of communal living, in search of, well…yes: comfort, control, and companionship. Only, those old people aren't in their late eighties; they are energetic sixty- or seventy-year-olds with plenty of ideas and plenty of money.

There! That hobbyhorse can be stalled again for a while.


I have made two resolutions for 2015. The first is to make it to 2016, and the second is to get rid of one thing every day. People are magpies. Not long ago, when the staff were cleaning out the room of a resident who had passed away, they found great quantities of sugar, soap, butter, and long-life milk. In other words, everything that used to be rationed in the war. Her cupboards were also a riot of all kinds of other rubbish: vases, cups and saucers, statuettes, candles, bottles and tins. It made me cast a critical eye over my own room: it too is full of needless junk.

I ought to throw out one thing I have no use for every day. Whenever I buy something new, I should get rid of two old things. At the end of the year I ought to be at least 365 expendable items lighter.

Saturday, January 10

A few more words about 2014.

The Old But Not Dead Club slowly recovered from Eefje's passing and Grietje's withdrawal. In the spring we began planning club excursions again. A fresh string of pearls beckoning on the horizon. It turned out that we needed those pearls to plan and look forward to in order not to sink into gloomy lethargy. We agreed that we would never again let several months go by wasted. In our case, death, even the death of our most beloved friends, is to be no excuse.

"We'd never get to the end of it!" said Evert, and then began wondering out loud whether there might be such a thing as a coffin-decorating workshop "for a bright and creative interment."

He hasn't found one yet, although according to Evert, that's a big gap in the market. He also announced that he'd like us all to dress in loud, colorful clothes at his funeral. Even the coffin bearers. Could we please take care of that?


There is a new female resident who at teatime this afternoon devoured ten butter biscuits in a row. After about the fourth one, the room slowly grew quiet around her. Half a dozen residents held their breath watching one biscuit after another disappear into her tiny mouth. It was her own packet of biscuits, so the nurse couldn't really say anything. But when the lady started on her eighth biscuit she could no longer keep it in.

"Mrs. Lacroix, is that really sensible?"

"Shht," Mrs. Lacroix tried to say with a mouthful of crumbs. At least, that's what it sounded like.

After her tenth biscuit, she looked around the circle and asked if anyone else would like one.

"What are you doing?"

"I am a performance artist," she answered.

"Oh, here we go…" said Mr. Bakker.

"What did she say she is?" asked Mrs. Duits.

I wasn't actually there—I heard the story secondhand from Edward. He was there, and he loved it.

I think I want to meet this Mrs. Lacroix.

Sunday, January 11

A research study has shown that eighty-year-olds are happier than they were aged forty. Forty is the low point on the happiness scale. At that age you have to worry about both your parents and your kids, and then there's the stress of your job as well.

These are the findings of a professor who is eighty years old himself. He knows of what he speaks. But has this professor, a Mr. Vaillant, ever visited a care home like ours? If he had, he would know that the faces in here don't exactly radiate joy. That old people are very good at concealing any happiness they feel.

Perhaps he should come and give a few lectures here, to explain a thing or two. After all, it's now or never, as far as happiness is concerned.

Let me give the weather as an example.

It has been stormy for nearly a week, and after just a dip down to moderate gale force, the wind is back up to hurricane strength. If you were even just half as happy as the professor maintains, it stands to reason that you wouldn't let a stiff little breeze get you down. On the contrary: you'd go outside and let the wind whip through your hair.

But that doesn't really happen here. One mostly hears whining about ruined hairdos. As if it's so important for those last remaining hairs to be perfectly coiffed.

For myself, I have discovered that my mobility scooter is rather sensitive to crosswinds. I nearly capsized this morning when a wind gust sideswiped me, pushing me up against the curb between two tall buildings. I heard Geert shout with laughter behind me on his scooter. A few hundred yards farther on it was my turn to laugh: he got drenched by a car tearing through a puddle alongside him. Two old rascals on a quiet, stormy Sunday morning in North Amsterdam who were simply elated to be out in the wind and weather.

Monday, January 12

The members of the Old But Not Dead Club are no strangers to the travails of the flesh. Not to complain, but just to take into account: Evert is in a wheelchair with diabetes. Antoine and Ria are a classic example of the lame and the blind: he has rheumatism, her eyesight is failing. Edward has had a stroke and his speech is practically unintelligible. Geert has a colostomy and a sleep disorder. Leonie is afflicted with a serious tremor and is incontinent. I am short of breath and have trouble walking, an embarrassing dribble, and the occasional bout of gout. Graeme is the only one who is still in reasonably fine fettle.

Impressive list of ailments, isn't it?

Our club has clear guidelines about this: there's to be no whining, but making fun of one's aches and pains is allowed. That helps tremendously. We laugh a lot about our various miseries. It makes living with the restrictions brought on by the body's decrepitude a great deal easier.


A splendid new plan was born during a more or less accidental gathering of the Old But Not Dead Club. We are having a short winter hiatus from our excursion program until the end of the Christmas holidays, but none of us liked having nothing to look forward to in the interim. At teatime yesterday Ria and Antoine proposed, somewhat hesitantly, an idea for a second kind of activity.

"Something to do with food, we were thinking."

"Golly, what a surprise," said Edward.

"We thought it might be fun to go out to dinner together once a month, taking turns to choose a different ethnic restaurant to visit each time."

"Aha," said Evert, "and you thought that would be fun?"

Ria and Antoine both looked a bit taken aback. "It's just a suggestion."

"To be perfectly honest, I think it's a great plan," said Evert with a broad grin. "Only, maybe it should be more frequent than once a month."

And so it is decided: once every three weeks, we'll have dinner out at a restaurant of a different nationality, with the members of the club taking turns to choose the venue. Only, no Chinese or Italian—too predictable. This project won't replace our soon-to-be-revived regular excursion program, but will continue alongside it.

Tuesday, January 13

The first Dutch celebrity death of the year is Frans Molenaar. Tumbled down the stairs and never recovered. A lovely but peculiar man from the lovely but peculiar world of haute couture fashion. A world that's quite divorced from reality.

"They only make clothes you'd wear to a carnival. No one would go out wearing that," Mrs. Van Diemen decided.

"A hat like that would make a handy umbrella," her neighbor remarked when she saw a medium-sized UFO on one model's head.

"And they're always faggots, and always surrounded by the most beautiful women," said Mr. Dickhout disapprovingly.

"Only if you like skeletons, nothing but skin and bone. Not a speck of meat," said the fellow seated next to him.

Frans Molenaar would have thumbed his pedantic nose at their point of view.

Here in the home we are not that fashion-conscious anymore. Only our droopy trousers, crotch at the knees, and floppy braces put us in the "with-it" bracket, as those also happen to be fashionable with hip youngsters in the "real" world. You might even say that we were trendsetters in that regard.

Yesterday Evert came around for a drink before dinner because he'd run out of supplies and didn't feel like braving wind and rain to go to the liquor store.

Evert has asked the director time and again why our mini-mart can't carry alcoholic beverages. "No, impossible, for licensing reasons."

"When I die I expect Gall & Gall to send a lovely wreath," Evert told me, "because I've remained such a loyal customer, despite my diabetes. A shining example of stubborn tenacity."

Miracle of miracles, my best mate was spared any further amputations or related indignities this past year. He actually looks the picture of health in his wheelchair. Sharp as a tack.


  • "You might say he's the Elena Ferrante of the octogenarian set - though whether or not he is actually an octogenarian (or a man) is also anyone's guess...It's an appealing novel with a lot of heart, reminding readers young and old that fun is to be found even in the routine of everyday life. And of course, the possibility that it's more memoir than fiction is delightful."—New York Post
  • "Humorous...A realistic and perceptive glimpse into the aging process, shaped by empathy, optimism, and vibrant wit."—Booklist
  • "I laughed until I cried and then laughed and cried some more."—David Suchet
  • "Highly entertaining...Wise and witty, his musings are thought-provoking and relevant to everyone regardless of age, and his delightful and charming personality will win over readers everywhere....ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is the diary of an extraordinary man who lives an ordinary life. He makes an impact on almost everyone he meets, and seeks to understand the crazy world in which he resides. His clever commentary and madcap adventures will leave a long-term impression ... Hendrik Groen is an unforgettable and absolutely spectacular character who readers will wish they could befriend."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 18.0px; font: 16.0px Times; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Book Reporter
  • "Delightful...Groen strikes just the right note here with his wit and ironic observations...So warm, touching, and funny that you don't have to be a member of the Old But Not Dead Club to enjoy it."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'}Library Journal
  • "A worthy read...Darkly funny...thought-provoking, moving and so pertinent to our times....Hendrik and some of his fellow residents form a delightfully rebellious "Old But Not Dead Club [and] the group's joie de vivre is contagious...Their friendships are likely to make you chuckle as well as move you to tears."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 18.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Winnipeg Free Press
  • "Thoughtful, entertaining, and wise. Long may he live."—Lisa Jewell, p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • "Another amusing, enjoyable, and eye-opening read...Hendrik's bluntness is just a part of his memorable voice and the book's undeniable charm....With its dry wit and its random observations, On the Bright Side is alternately quirky and profound. It's more than just an entertaining read; it's sure to give you a new love and respect for octogenarians."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'}Nights and Weekends

"Amusing [and] wickedly accurate...Reading The Secret Diary, I was constantly put in mind of Ken Kesey's madhouse tale 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....The Secret Diary is a handbook of resistance for our time."—The Express (UK)
  • "Funny and frank - a story with a great deal of heart."
    Graeme Simsion, New York Times bestselling author of The Rosie Project
  • "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, internationally bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  • "Funny, tragic, and sometimes heart-rending."—Het Parool (Holland)
  • "Hendrik Groen is king. My mother, 78, suffers from dementia. Doesn't read a newspaper or magazine anymore, only old photo albums can grab her attention for longer than 5 minutes. Hendrik made her laugh out loud and she was reading for a good half hour."—Ray Kluun, author of Love Life
  • "Hendrik Groen is a heart-warming hero."—Trouw (Holland)
  • "With pungent phrasing Groen takes down life in a retirement home. Both charming and hilarious. Four stars!"—Leeuwarder Courant (Holland)
  • "Groen's day-to-day worries in a retirement home are just as hilarious as the diaries of Adrian Mole."
    Debut of the Month in Zin Magazine
  • "Tears were streaming down my face-from laughing so hard. I couldn't stop grinning for three days."—Ouderenjournaal (Holland)
  • "Never a dull moment with my new BFF Hendrik Groen."—Read Shop, Hedel (bookseller)
  • "It reminded me of a combination between The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Wonderful! Shame it's finished already."—Arjen Broers, Bookshop Bruna (bookseller)
  • "Heart-warming, funny and poignant. It's about all aspects of life. EVERYBODY should read this."—Bookshop Stevens (Bookseller)
  • "An incredible picture of friendship... something we could all stand to emulate, no matter where we are in our lives."—Bookpage, Top Fiction Pick for July
  • "Interspersed with Groen's biting wit and comic take on aging and all it entails... A page-turning delight for adult readers of any age and locale."—Booklist, starred review
  • "Poignant and true-to-life, an international bestseller."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • "Engaging and hilarious, Hendrik's diary gives a dignity and respect to the elderly often overlooked in popular culture, providing readers a look into the importance of friendship and the realities of the senior care system in modern society."—Publisher's Weekly
  • On Sale
    Mar 19, 2019
    Hachette Audio

    Hendrik Groen

    About the Author

    Hendrik Groen started his pseudonymous diary on the literary website of Torpedo Magazine. He says about his first novel: "There's not one sentence that's a lie, but not every word is true." The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen has been translated into over twenty languages.

    Learn more about this author