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Publisher's Summary

For fans of A Man Called Ove comes a funny, big-hearted tale about an old man who is young at heart.

Hendrik Groen may be old, but he is far from dead and isn't planning to be buried any time soon. Granted, his daily strolls are getting shorter because his legs are no longer willing, and he has to visit his doctor more than he'd like. Technically speaking he is...elderly. But surely there is more to life at his age than weak tea and potted geraniums?

Hendrik sets out to write an exposé: a year in the life of his care home in Amsterdam, revealing all its ups and downs - not least his new endeavor, the anarchic Old-but-Not-Dead Club. And when Eefje moves in - the woman Hendrik has always longed for - he polishes his shoes (and his teeth), grooms what's left of his hair, and attempts to make something of the life he has left, with hilarious, tender, and devastating consequences.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen will not only delight older listeners with its wit and relevance but charm and inspire those who have years to go before their own expiry dates.

©2017 Hester Velmans (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Funny and frank - a story with a great deal of heart." (Graeme Simsion, New York Times best-selling author of The Rosie Project)

"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, internationally best-selling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas)

"The humble diary of a gentleman who is fighting depression in the twilight of his life is masterfully brought to life by Derek Jacobi's outstanding narration. It's a treat to listen to Jacobi's rich voice and musical intonation... A delightful and richly rewarding listening experience." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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narration an a+

the narration of this book realky brings it to life. i think the readable version wouldnt have been as enjoyable. excellent!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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One of the best audiobooks I've ever heard.<br />

A brilliant tour de force by sir Derek Jacobi. This diary touches subjects we wish to embrace and ignore all at the same time. Poignant, humorous, heartbreaking, and extremely rewarding.

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  • David
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 09-13-18

Sad and funny and inspiring

An unflinching yet hopeful account of life's last chapter. I wish I knew these people.

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What a great story and message!

I loved Hendrik! I hope when I'm 83 1/4 years old that I'm as awesome as he is!

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Hendrik hits the nail on the head!

This audio book made me laugh (the most), sigh (it's poignant), shed a tear (life is sad too) and smile to myself a lot!
It's about being old, lonely, scared, brave and determined. The characters are real!! If you are familiar with old folks, retirement homes and hoping you never need one, this book is a guide for it all. It tells the gritty tough stuff and the lovely stuff and it's put together in a way that makes one realize life is about all of it and it's not all one or the other. Wonderful!!

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One of the most poignant listens ever

As one whose own father is living out his days in a “rest home”, this book struck many chords with me. When I first started listening I wondered how a book with this story line could possible be stretched into as many hours as was listed. Was I ever in for a surprise! I found myself wishing the protagonist had not limited himself to a year’s worth of diary writing! I was drawn in, waiting for the next developments, cheering the club on. The performance was excellent, one of the best I have ever listened to. I would highly recommend this book, particularly in audio form.

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What a Breath of Fresh Air!

Derek Jacobi’s nuanced narration is one of the best I’ve ever listened to! He makes this book come to life in a way that seldom does. What a joy!

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0ld age ain't for sissies!

The realities of old age. A must read for anyone interested in the subject of aging. Poor Henrik☹

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Wonderful!

I loved this book! Excellent reading for bringing recognition and empathy to senior issues. The author has a knack for storytelling!

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Oddly Uplifting

A diary written by an old man living in a nursing home hardly sounds enticing but you will miss a very good book if you follow that line of thought. It is at times so funny and yes, sometimes a little sad but delightful all the way through. Hendrik Groen is my hero.