I’m absolutely delighted to welcome you all today on my stop for the blog tour for On The Bright Side : The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen. Many thanks to Sam Deacon at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for my review copy!
Author : Hendrik Groen
Title : On The Bright Side : The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen
Series : Hendrik Groen #2
Pages : 440
Translator : Hester Velamns
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : January 11, 2017
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.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hendrik’s first diary so I was incredibly excited to be asked to review the follow-up and it’s every bit as special.
A year after events from his previous diary, Hendrik Groen once again picks up his pen. After losing Eefje, he hadn’t felt like writing but now the time has come to get back into the swing of things, exercise his brain and fill us in on happenings at the care home and the adventures of the Old-But-Not-Dead Club.
I must say, I’ve never been one for clubs but if I’m fortunate enough to get to the ripe old age of 86 or thereabouts, I would absolutely jump at the chance to join the Old-But-Not-Dead Club. Their sheer determination to keep living life to the fullest does really prove that age is nothing but a number as they keep broadening their horizons, stay active as best as they can, laugh and have a good time.
New members are joining the fold. They will dine out on numerous occasions, try new things and even go on little trips. I adore the friendships between these members but the one that will always hold a special place in my heart, is the one between Hendrik and Evert. We should all be so lucky as to have a wonderful friend like them in our lives.
As in Hendrik’s previous diary, his entries are often moving and rather emotional. As is to be expected in this environment, some residents won’t make it to the end of the book. But Hendrik’s diary is also inspiring, uplifting and funny with many moments where I found myself chuckling. The inclusion of world news and statistics is often thought-provoking. Especially when talking about the closure of care homes and the amount of elderly people who never receive visitors and spend way too much time on their own.
Hendrik remains one of the most fantastic characters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, still rather sharp witted for his age, a fabulous grandfather figure and an even more brilliant friend to have in your corner. I do so hope there will be a third diary as I am convinced there are plenty more stories to tell and I would really love to spend more time with the Old-But-Not-Dead Club again in future.
On The Bright Side will be published on January 11.
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 ¼ 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.
About 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.
Make sure to follow the rest of the tour and don’t forget to pick up your copy on the 11th!