My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started reading Hendrik Groen’s Secret Diary with some trepidation – why would I want to read about this grumpy old man in an Amsterdam Old People’s Care Home? After all I’m married to an oldish man (5 years younger than Hendrik Groen) and I’m familiar with some of the ‘older male’ idiosyncrasies. Maybe, ten years ago, I would not have found much to keep me reading. In the event, I found this a charming book. There are moments of hilarity, gentle humour, and sadness. But overall there is acceptance of aging. There is recognition of the importance of like-minded friends in one’s life at whatever age. There is the sense of adventure that is fairly crucial to keeping up a person’s interest in life. I suppose it could be a sense of purpose, something to get you up and going each day. In Hendrik Groen’s life it is not necessarily some huge event but a visit to the Botanical Gardens with friends, helping his less-able friends with their daily chores. Overall, this tale left me with a feeling of appreciation for being older, being able-bodied and living in a country (Australia) where there is so much going for us ‘senior citizens’. Oh, and living in a warm climate. I don’t think I could handle the cold.