What could Hendrik Groen, ensconced in his Amsterdam rest home, have to write about? Quite a lot it turns out ... and even more so when he and his friends form the 'Old-but-not-yet-dead club'. High jinks ensue. And that's the point - just because your 'best before' date has passed and your 'use by' date is looming, it doesn't mean you have to take it sitting down (unless of course, you are in a suitable chair).
Entertaining and moving, this is a story where the politics of ageing are sensitively explored through the acerbic insights and subversive humour of its true-to-life characters and the circumstances that befall them. [Larger font]
Very mixed response to this book, too close to home for some, and hard to get into for others. Thought provoking. We had great discussion around this book due to the many topics covered. Some of us found it very funny.
This book was enjoyed by all, some more than others! The questions made for lively discussion as members of our group are all "old", bar one. We enjoyed his sense of humour and determination to keep living.
Most of the group read and enjoyed this book though there were a few dissenting voices e.g. finding it depressing. One reader's first impression wasn't high but, by the end, had thoroughly changed their mind. A very good translation and readers noticed use of colloquialisms appropriate for a 83 year old. The year long diary shows humour, frustration, tenderness, sadness etc. and gave rise to thoughts on ageing and care of the aged.
A riveting yarn. Bittersweet.
Several people felt that the diary format did not work for them, and felt it was boring at times. Others liked that format. The issues addressed seem universal for people in rest homes. There was humor, sadness and tenderness in the book. Many people admired Grietje's ability to face into her dementia. The discussion went far and wide about care for the elderly and the need to be prepared.
2 members only (out of 11 who read the book) really enjoyed it. The remainder of the group found it too long, repetitive & boring. Even though it was a light read those who did persist to the end took the whole month to read it. It seemed that those of us over 70 years of age, perhaps felt that it was a bit close to home but of course when we realised that it wasnt an actual diary but a work of fiction by a 61 year old, we felt that it was demeaning to many elderly over 80 years old, who are out in the community living a full and energetic life independently of any retirement home.
Most enjoyed. Chortled at some points, sad at others. Reality check for old age.
Both funny and sad. Good discussion point about much needed improvement for the aged in care.
We were quite split after reading the 'Diary'. Some found it cleverly written, thought-provoking, enjoyable, and cherished the mischief-making of the main protagonists. The book was undoubtedly well-researched and we gained insights about the elderly in residential care. Some found the book repetitive (in fact, no fewer than four men used that word in their summation), too long, slow, and bemoaned a sameness of tone. So we had a divided room, and as one of our cohort wisely said, "the jury is still out".
At least half of our group didn't finish the book as they found it a bit repetitive. Those of us who had read it all thought that the characters, especially that of the narrator, developed during the book and were very engaging. None of us would read a sequel.
Mostly enjoyed by the group - a couple of members still reading it - one gave up and hated it after the cake in the aquarium! Stimulated lots of discussion about our future care plans and choices - or lack of!
Most enjoyable reading doesn't always mean the best discussion.
This delightful book had all the right ingredients. It was full of humour and tragedy, and it was written to make you want to keep reading long after the lights should go out!