I seem to be stuck on a treadmill of books about old people. Maybe it's my advancing age but also I think they are the trend in publishing at the moment. One I read before we went on holiday - and then forgot about and now owe a fine at the library - is called The Extraordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81.
From what I can remember he is an active person until an accident that leaves him needing home help for a short period. His relationship with his young carer is the focus of the book. Really quite average. ** and a half *
The one I've just finished, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, is a much lauded publication. An actual diary rather than fiction it was broadcast on Radio 4 and I assume the broadcast version was much edited as the diary itself is very repetitive and quite boring. Not as funny as I'd expected either. I think the author wrote it intending it as an expose of retirement homes so maybe I shouldn't have anticipated humour.
It's set in Holland where I guess there are different laws on euthanasia and also they have Black Piet*, which I think is some sort of Father Christmas type character. (I should google that), but other than that I imagine a care home is much the same as one here.
I was going to give it another ** and a half * but at the end I noticed the author was writing a follow-up and I thought, 'I'll have to read that,' so maybe it was better than I thought. ***
The final book is the one I found on the shelf in our holiday cottage when I'd finished my books. I'd never heard of Sister by Rosamund Lupton, although apparently it was the winner of the Richard and Judy Book Club 2010.
It's about a woman and her sister who goes missing. The woman has been living in America until she gets the message that her sister is missing when she returns home and determines to find her. It's written in the form of a letter to her sister and it leaps from present to recent past to childhood memories. And it is excellent. Highly recommended. ****
* Black Piet, Santa's little helpers, blacked-up men and women, originally carried sacks to take away naughty boys and girls but now just help fill stockings. The custom has been the subject of mass protests over recent years.