This is Marianne Cronin’s debut novel and what a debut it is!
Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.
Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.
To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.
As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.
Wow! This is one of my favourite books and one which I will be recommending to many of my friends for years to come!
The story begins by comparing terminal illness to an airport terminal, something I thought was very cleverly done and is carried forward to the end of the book making for a very well rounded story.
The main characters Lenni and Margot are, in many ways, an unlikely pairing but their friendship blossoms and together they share stories of their combined 100 years of life. I relished the stories of Margot, she was full of surprises and it was clear that she had lived a very full life, although not without heartache and pain.
Lenni also has a very special relationship with Father Arthur whom she visits on a regular basis. Their conversations made me laugh out loud and highlighted Lenni’s quick wit and sense of humour.
Although the plot is built around death, it focuses so much on life. There is no emphasis on the illnesses that either of these woman have, there is no unnecessary details shared about their suffering. Instead, this part is very much skimmed over to make way for moments of happiness and the joy they bring to one another’s final chapter.
If you only read one book this year, make it this one. It is such a beautiful looking book to own and one which I chose to buy in hardback because it will look amazing on my book shelf.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is an incredible debut novel from Marianne Cronin, an author who is going to go far and I look forward to joining her on her journey.
Buy your copy now…