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The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot Summary and Reviews

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

by Marianne Cronin

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin X
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
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About this book

Book Summary

A charming, fiercely alive and disarmingly funny debut novel in the vein of John Green, Rachel Joyce, and Jojo Moyes - a brave testament to the power of living each day to the fullest, a tribute to the stories that we live, and a reminder of our unlimited capacity for friendship and love.

An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories.

Seventeen-year-old Lenni Pettersson lives on the Terminal Ward at the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. Though the teenager has been told she's dying, she still has plenty of living to do. Joining the hospital's arts and crafts class, she meets the magnificent Margot, an 83-year-old, purple-pajama-wearing, fruitcake-eating rebel, who transforms Lenni in ways she never imagined.

As their friendship blooms, a world of stories opens for these unlikely companions who, between them, have been alive for one hundred years. Though their days are dwindling, both are determined to leave their mark on the world. With the help of Lenni's doting palliative care nurse and Father Arthur, the hospital's patient chaplain, Lenni and Margot devise a plan to create one hundred paintings showcasing the stories of the century they have lived—stories of love and loss, of courage and kindness, of unexpected tenderness and pure joy.

Though the end is near, life isn't quite done with these unforgettable women just yet.

Delightfully funny and bittersweet, heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot reminds us of the preciousness of life as it considers the legacy we choose to leave, how we influence the lives of others even after we're gone, and the wonder of a friendship that transcends time.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Cronin's touching debut is a joyous celebration of friendship, love, and life...While the narrative voice sometimes feels a bit too childlike for a 17-year-old, the story offers plenty of uplifting wisdom...Fans of life-affirming tearjerkers will be touched." - Publishers Weekly

"Threading together these two lives, Cronin...nimbly avoids drifting into sentimental clichés...A whimsical, joyous portrait of the ends of things." - Kirkus Reviews

"Cronin has just struck the right balance between sensitivity and sentimentality, making her one of those admirable writers who does exceptionally fine work both celebrating life and addressing death." - Booklist

"This multi-generational novel about friendship is something special: moving, joyful, and life-affirming." - Good Housekeeping

"A beautiful debut, funny, tender, and animated by a willingness to confront life's obstacles and find a way to survive...It celebrates friendship, finds meaning in difficulty and lets the reader explore dark places while always allowing for the possibility of light. Lenni and Margot are fine companions for all our springtime journeys." - Harper's Bazaar (UK)

"Graceful, intelligent, beautiful writing. Full of wisdom and kindness. It is just the kind of book I adore." - Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

This information about The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Djcminor

An Excellent Debut Novel
When I am anticipating the reading of a new book, I keep my reading of reviews by other people to a minimum. I do need some blurb or short enticement, of course, or I would not know about the book at all. Debut author Marianne Cronin’s The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot crossed my reading radar. I was immediately intrigued by this blurb from Publishers Weekly: "Cronin’s touching debut is a joyous celebration of friendship, love, and life."

When I received a copy of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, I sat down and started reading, ignoring the other stack of books I should have been reading for a committee meeting. And I am glad I began reading immediately. Seventeen-year-old Lenni is hospitalized with a terminal illness, a term the nurses are trying to change to life-limiting.

Lenni, quite aware of her life-limiting illness, still makes the best of her situation in the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. She begins visiting Father Arthur in the hospital’s chapel. Their conversations are funny and touching. She asks him hard questions and he tries honestly to answer. Lenni needs a nurse escort in order to go to the chapel and a nurse must also return an hour later to help Lenni back to her room. This requirement sometimes causes problems when the nurses are short-staffed or extra busy with other patients.

When a temporary secretary, an art major, has an opportunity to apply for a grant so the hospital could receive art supplies and an art teacher, the temp does so with gusto. The grant is awarded. Sadly, the hospital director hires Pippa, another art teacher, rather than the temp. Still, setting up the art room for patients will lead to the friendship between Lenni and Margot, aged 83. As Lenni points out, between the two of them, Lenni and Margot, they have one hundred years.

At first, Pippa is reluctant to allow Lenni to meet at the same time with the senior patients. The classes have been divided according to age. Lenni, however, does not enjoy the art class with her peers and insists she wants to attend with the seniors so she can be with Margot. At last, Pippa relents.

During their art class, Lenni suggests that they create 100 pictures to commemorate the 100 years between them. As they draw their pictures, they tell each other the stories that make up both of their lives. As a reader, I found their sharing of life stories fascinating. They do not choose to tell the stories in chronological order. This lack of order is not confusing, however. It simply allows Lenni and Margot to relay their pasts to one another through the pictures they are drawing. Lenni finds that Margot is the far better artist, so she concentrates on writing up their stories.

Since I lost a dear, long-time friend unexpectedly recently, I might have expected to find The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot too difficult to read. After all, both Lenni and Margot, our main characters, are in the hospital. Lenni tells us she has a life-limiting illness and Margot is being treated for a heart ailment at age 83. I could expect the outcome to be one or both deaths. Because the story is about love, friendship, a bond between two unlikely people and celebrating little joys, I found it an absorbing read and one that appealed to my heart.

Marianne Cronin earned a PhD in applied linguistics from the U of Birmingham. I enjoyed discovering that she writes with her rescue cat “sleeping under her desk.” Cronin is also an improv performer in the West Midlands, England, where she lives. Learning that bit of news about Cronin makes me understand the humor that is sprinkled throughout The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot.

Margot P

A gem
The combined 100 years of living by Lennie (age 17) and Margot (age 83) is something to celebrate! Have not enjoyed a read this much in ages. The timeless themes of love and friendship are fresh and heartwarming. And get this-a priest who is a positive and beloved character! You will cry but will feel so good doing it. Highly recommended for adults and mature teens alike.

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Author Information

Marianne Cronin

Marianne Cronin was born in 1990 and grew up in Warwickshire, England. She studied English at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. She now spends most of her time writing, with her newly-adopted rescue cat sleeping under her desk. When she's not writing, Marianne can be found performing improv in the West Midlands, where she now lives. Her debut novel, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, is to be translated into over 20 languages and is being adapted into a feature film by a major Hollywood studio.

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