Monday, July 31, 2017

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Growen 83 1/4 Years Old- Book Review

Within the last few years, there has been an uptick of quirky, elderly, sarcastic/angry protagonists. There was Ove in A Man Called Ove, who would regularly kick things while being super grumpy. There was Allan in the 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, who wasn't so grumpy, but just got tired of being in a nursing home. There was also Martha of The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules and her mighty band of pensioners who go for broke one day and go on a spree.

Into this genre, enters Hendrik Groen who is 83 years old and is one of the youngest people at his old age home. He decides to keep a diary for a year telling about life in the home. He is sarcastic, opinionated, and is approaching the diary without a filter, as he says.

There are fights in the home as to who can sit in certain benches or not. There are mysteries, such as they dying fish (they died because Hendrik threw a rock hard biscuit into the tank), and there is a new "gang" called The Old, but Not Dead Club of which Hendrik is a founding member. They stay up late and keep planning to go on an outing.

Life in the home is pretty normal with all of these things going on, until Eefje moves in. Hendrik has always had a thing for her and wishes life had been a bit different.

Throughout the book, Hendrik also deals with a memory that seems to be slipping at time, getting older so he might need a scooter, and has insights about getting older that will delight.

This book is a "safe" one. By that, I mean you know what you are going to get and it can be read by any single person in the family who can read. It is heartwarming, it is funny, and there isn't too much to set someone off. It is a completely "safe" book. It would be fun for a book club to read.

The good news, is I am not quite tired of these types of books yet. I am still enjoying the sarcastic, grumpy, yet a heart of gold elderly person books. I find them good palate cleansers after some heavier books and this one is no different. It was so fun, I started it in the afternoon and finished it right before going to bed that evening. It was a simple, fun read. This sounds like an insult, but it isn't meant to be- this is the equivalent of a Hallmark movie, but in book form. I think too many more of these types of books will start to burn out the genre, but for now, I am still loving them.

I gave this one a 3.5.

*I want to thank NetGalley for the early copy of the book. I received it in exchange for an honest review*

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