The adorable Mr. Groen is back and as loveable as ever. Last year I reviewed the wonderful The Secret Diary Of Hendrik Groen, it even made it onto my favourites shelf in Goodreads, so when I saw that Hendrik had been at it again I knew I had to get my hands on it.
On The Bright Side picks up where The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen left off, at the care home of the anarchic Old-But-Not-Dead Club where Hendrik and his friends are determined to enjoy their autumn years full of optimism. Written with his characteristic charm and humour Hendrik proves, yet again, that age is simply a number.
It was a pleasure to be once again in the company of Hendrik and the Old-But-Not-Dead Club. Written a year after his first diary, we are regaled with stories from the care home and from around the world.
I’m sure I said it the last time but I was chuckling aloud at various points in this book, I think the inmates really are a source of great entertainment, especially when they wind each other up. I think it’s refreshing that they are able to find humour in themselves and to admit that they sometimes verge on political incorrectness, Mr. Groen’s often blunt delivery never fails to make me smile.
Mr Bakker and Mr Pot are worse than the two cantankerous old geezers in The Muppets. Everything’s going to the dogs; gangland murders are the only thing that has them rubbing their hands in glee.
It was good to get reacquainted with the inmates, see who was still there and causing trouble, considering their age I had expected that there would be a few that wouldn’t be around. It was nice that the Club was still together and that their remit had expanded to world cuisine and a trip to another country.
I feel somewhat put to shame by the Club members, as they show a great deal of zest and willingness to experiment and seem to care less and less about what is expected of them; it certainly gave me a bit of a kick when I realised that I have not been that adventurous at trying new things. The great thing about it though is that it certainly gave me the motivation, because I certainly do not want to end up as one of the whingers or complainers with only ailments and the weather to talk about.
I have yet to see the stubborn and rather deaf Mr De Grave do anything but point his cane to the other side before stepping out, looking neither left nor right. He walks at an angle, with the traffic, to give the cars a chance to swerve round him. One time he even caused a small pile-up behind him, to which he remained completely oblivious.
Even with all the laughs that are provided in this book, you still get to see the other side of the coin, the struggles of getting older and no longer being able to rely on your own body, losing people that are close to you and the added pressure of the home possibly being closed. As ever there were points that I was in floods of tears, but Hendrik would keep telling himself to get over it so you start to feel that way too.
It was brilliant to catch up with Hendrik and the Old-But-Not-Dead Club members, I shall wait with baited breath to see if we will get another diary and find out what other antics and adventures this remarkable group get up to.
Reviews for other Hendrik Groen books