The Hundred and One Years of Lenni and Margot
By Margot Cronin
Rated: 5 stars *****
Essential, witty and emotional – The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is marvellous and utterly unputdownable.
Find out more about the author, the blurb and review below.
With thanks to Alison Barrow at publisher – Transworld Books/Doubleday for gifting me a beautiful physical copy of the book.
About the Author
Lenni and Margot took me seven years to write and I’m very excited that their story is now reaching readers here on Amazon.
Before I started working on writing fiction full-time, I spent my days in academia, writing things that nobody wanted to read (not even my mum!). I have a PhD in Applied Linguistics but I don’t use the title ‘Dr’ on official documents because I’m scared of being asked to help in a medical emergency and having only a thesis on linguistics to help.
I like to write at night and I like to be alone when I do. When I’m not writing, I can be found trying to be funny in various improv groups or watching my recently-adopted cat sleeping under my desk.
An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories.
Their last one begins here.
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.
Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny and brimming with tenderness, THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT unwraps the extraordinary gift of life even when it is about to be taken away, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we need them most.
Set primarily in Glasgow, with tales of life being lived in London and on a beach in Troon, the premise of life and death is fabulous and is as far from bleak as you can get with such a subject matter. This is pretty uplifting and also essential, as we all live and we all have final days and yet it isn’t talked about very much. For a debut novel, it is very accomplished and totally enthralling and utterly compelling and unputdownable.
Lenni is in hospital in Glasgow and it initially sounds pretty bleak, but this could not be further than the truth! It questions life and death in such a natural, funny and brave way. Lenni is foreward in giving opinions and statements and generally gives the chaplin – Father Arthur a run for his money, especially about life and death and God, and is in search of answers as to why life is ending at the tender age of 17. It is absolutely brilliant in how so many emotions are portrayed and how matter-of-fact thoughts and dialogue is.
Lenni and Margot, truly have a story of significance and importance to tell, after all, this covers subjects that are natural and yet not properly talked about and it nicely doesn’t skirt around the cycle of life and subsequent death. It calls it all what it is, which is refreshingly honest.
At the other end of the scale is Margot, who Lenni comes across in the hospital. She is 83. Here is the clever thing about the title. Margot (83) and Lenni (17) have the most extraordinary inventiveness how to reach 100, which is just joyous and bittersweet all at once, but with a wonderful upbeat determination.
What blossoms is a lovely friendship. This is, despite life coming to and end, just so heartwarming and beautiful to watch occur and what makes it so, apart from the humour, is that Margot tells Lenni about her younger years of life, and how she becomes interested in it. This is as much about life and not just merely existing, but truly living it, as it is in making the most of what is left of it. It isn’t about just about staying in a hospital bed either, it’s about still doing activities, as they met in an art class within the hospital and it is about when life was lived and death couldn’t be further away.
It’s a book that will make you laugh one minute and all sad in another as emotions oscillate throughout, this is a terrific debut novel, full of heart and the most unlikely of friendships, but circumstance brough Lenni and Margot together, because it can be extraordinary how and when and who with friendships are formed, which develop into something that becomes natural. It is a wonderful book from beginning to end.