A funny but also touching diary praised for its wit and realism' BBC Radio 4 Front Row The Old-But-Not-Dead Club return, in the sequel to the INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old, bringing with them some life-affirming lawlessness. Chaos will ensue as 85-year-old Hendrik Groen is determined to grow old with dignity: to rise up against the care home director. NO more bingo. NO more over-boiled vegetables. NO more health and safety. 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 practising 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 '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' ***** FIVE STARS Sunday Express 'Highly entertaining ... a fiction so closely based on the observation of real life that it is utterly convincing' Daily Express 'Full of off-beat charm and quirky characters' Cathy Rentzenbrink, Stylist 'Hendrik pens an exposé of his care home. This geriatric Adrian Mole made me laugh and think. Terrific' Fanny Blake, Woman and Home
I have become rather fond of Hendrik Groen and his friends in the Old But Not Dead Club. have read his two books and On The Bright Side continues to explore Hendrik's life in a care home as aging continues to throw its challenges against the desire for a life well lived. The friends organise regular outings and adventures to spice up their lives and to escape into the outside world. There is a lot of fun, some adjustments to be made and some sadness and loss, too.
There is so much food for thought within these pages, although I know that some of my older friends have found the original book a difficult read, saying it was a bit close to home. What passes for care in the social welfare system does not not always seem very caring, especially when financial budgets are cut. There is some consideration of whether a life is always worth continuing or whether there is a place for euthanasia. I think that these issues are too often swept under the carpet and we should consider them.
Hendrik Groen may tend to the curmudgeonly but he is wryly humorous, humane, thought-provoking and thoughtful, a worthy commentator on life as an octogenarian. I hope he has more to say in the future.