Thanks to the publisher – Penguin/Michael Joseph for the review copy.
Release date: 11 01 2018
Price*:Kindle £7.99 (GBP)/ Hardback £11.43 (GBP)
Kindle $N/A (USD)/ Hardback $15.57 (USD)
Pages: ~ 440
My rating: 9/10
You can get this book here:
What I learned from this book: Old people are awesome 🙂
Description of the book: After a year of mourning the death of his beloved friend Eefje, Hendrik Groen picks up his pen once again to chronicle the goings on both inside his care home and in the increasingly confusing world outside. True to form, Hendrik and his Old-But-Not-Dead club are as determined as ever to enjoy their autumn years, full of the same optimism, shenanigans and quintessential bullheadedness that drove them into the hearts of so many in his first diary.
Written with characteristic charm and humour, Hendrik proves – yet again – that age is simply a number. On the Bright Side is a life-affirming, hilarious and heart-warming fictional diary, but at the same time casts a critical light on the state of modern elderly care.
How this book made me feel: This is the second diary of Mr H. Groen, where he shares with the reader a year of his life in one of Amsterdam’s elderly care homes, and I really found it fascinating. I didn’t have the chance to read his first diary, however, I found that this book can be easily understood by a first-time reader like myself because Hendrik does a great job by introducing and describing all the residents of his care home.
The main character in this book is, of course, Hendrik Groen, and the whole book was told from his perspective. I found him absolutely adorable. He is incredibly bright minded, funny, and interesting personality. I really enjoyed the way he introduced all his friends and nemesis, his and Everet’s (best friend) sarcastic thoughts and actions got me laughing out loud many times. I liked the way Hendrik showed through his diary, that elderly care homes can be an actually fun place to be, where you are occupied and never alone. And when I will grow old I would not mind spending my old days in such establishment.
Even though this book was from author’s perspective, Hendrik shared many events which he saw on TV or read it in papers throughout the year of 2015, and I loved the way he incorporated different resident’s thoughts about those events. My most favourite thing in this book was the Old-But-Not-Dead club and their members. Even though they hardly can walk, they still choose to explore life and it’s offerings, and it is just admirable. I think this book is very relatable to all the elderly because Groen is sharing not only good stuff and jokes, he is sharing the cruel reality as well. And I did like that a lot, it makes it more realistic and believable.
The writing style is easy to read and very witty, sarcastic and enjoyable. I had to twist my tongue a little bit while pronouncing the Dutch surnames, but that didn’t bother me much. The chapters are short and sweet and the book went quite quick for me. It has a lot of going on in every chapter, but sometimes my mind tended to wonder of, as it was a little bit monotonous sometimes. Hendrik ended this book with a very positive message and big hopes for his fiction novel, which I will be waiting impatiently for. So, to conclude, if your grandparents are still alive, you have to get them this book. I bet they would be able to relate and if not they would have a great laugh while reading it. I had an emotional rollercoaster while reading it, it made happy, pity, sad, excited, and It just made me respect our elderly more, because they all are different, unique and fascinating. I strongly recommend it to all as it is a perfect insight into our possible future. Enjoy 🙂
P.S. I couldn’t decide which genre it is; the cover looks like it might be a fiction work, but then it is a diary, so does it mean it is biography….? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂
About the author: Hendrik Groen started his diaries on the literary website of Torpedo Magazine. He says about his work: ‘There’s not one sentence that’s a lie, but not every word is true.’ His first diary, the international bestseller The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1⁄4 Years Old has been translated into over thirty languages and is being adapted for television. His second diary went straight to number 1 in the Netherlands. He is currently working on a standalone novel.
A Note on the Translator: Hester Velamns is the author of two popular children’s novels and a translator specialising in modern fiction. Her translation of Renate Dorrenstein’s A Heart of Stone won the Vondel Prize for Translation and was Barnes & Nobele Discover Great New Writers selection. Her translation of Lulu Wang’s The Lily Theatre was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
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