Portobello Book Blog

There seems to have been a few books about irascible old men recently, including the wonderful ‘A Man Called Ove’ of course and ‘The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’. Could Hendrik Groen be another one of these grumpy but lovable characters? Well yes he is: I have grown very fond of him as I read his secret diary. Written by a so-far anonymous author, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Year Old has been a huge hit in its native Netherlands and I can see it repeating that success in the UK too.

At 83 1/4 Hendrik lives in a care home, though it sounds to me more like what we would call sheltered housing in the UK. The residents live fairly independently in their own apartments and are able to go out and about as they wish and as their mobility allows. They…

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