The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen


By Hendrik Groen

Translated by Hester Velmans

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$24.99 CAD

In this #1 international bestseller, an old man who is young at heart proves that life doesn't stop once you enter a nursing home, perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove.

Technically speaking, Hendrik Groen is elderly. But at age 83 and one quarter, this feisty curmudgeon has no plans to go out quietly. Bored of weak tea and potted geraniums, exasperated by the indignities of aging, Hendrik has decided to rebel. He begins writing an exposé: secretly recording the antics of day-to-day life in his retirement home, where he refuses to take himself, or his fellow ""inmates,"" too seriously.

With an eccentric group of friends, he founds the Old-But-Not-Dead Club, and he and his best friend, Evert, gleefully stir up trouble, enraging the home's humorless director and turning themselves into unlikely heroes. And when a sweet and sassy widow moves in next door, he is determined to savor every ounce of joy in the time he has left, with hilarious and tender consequences.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen is an inspiring, charming, and laugh-out-loud delight for readers of any age.


  • "Amusing [and] wickedly accurate...Reading The Secret Diary, I was constantly put in mind of Ken Kesey's madhouse tale One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, another comi-tragedy concerning the tyranny of institutions of the unwanted. Enjoy Groen's light touch but do not be fooled by it....The Secret Diary is a handbook of resistance for our time."
    The Express (UK)
  • "Funny and frank - a story with a great deal of heart."
    Graeme Simsion, New York Times bestselling 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 bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  • "An incredible picture of friendship... something we could all stand to emulate, no matter where we are in our lives."
    Bookpage, Top Fiction Pick for July
  • "Interspersed with Groen's biting wit and comic take on aging and all it entails... A page-turning delight for adult readers of any age and locale."
    Booklist, starred review
  • "Poignant and true-to-life, an international bestseller."
    Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • "Engaging and hilarious, Hendrik's diary gives a dignity and respect to the elderly often overlooked in popular culture, providing readers a look into the importance of friendship and the realities of the senior care system in modern society."
    Publisher's Weekly
  • "You might say he's the Elena Ferrante of the octogenarian set - though whether or not he is actually an octogenarian (or a man) is also anyone's guess. It's an appealing novel with a lot of heart, reminding readers young and old that fun is to be found even in the routine of everyday life. And of course, the possibility that it's more memoir than fiction is delightful."
    New York Post

On Sale
Apr 3, 2018
Page Count
384 pages

Hendrik Groen

About the Author

Hendrik Groen started his pseudonymous diary on the literary website of Torpedo Magazine. He says about his first novel: "There's not one sentence that's a lie, but not every word is true." The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen has been translated into over twenty languages.

Learn more about this author