The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot – Marianne Cronin

Published by: Doubleday
Pages: 400
Date released: 18/02/2021
Date read: 03/03/2021

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 eighty-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realise 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.

I’ve not heard one bad review about this book so far, and this one will be no different.

For a topic that revolves around terminally and very ill patients, this book had the potential to be morbid, sad and heartbreaking. But this is the opposite. This book is so very alive. It is heartwarming and comforting, and at times, very funny.

I love the uniqueness of an inter-generational friendship. Not every 17-year-old gets on with other 17-year-olds, and not every 83 year old wants to be surrounded by other octogenarians. They both learn from each other and teach each other.

Marianne Cronin manages to paint vivid pictures – in the literal and figurative sense – of Lenni’s short and Margot’s long life. It’s clear that Lenni’s 17 years have been as eventful as Margot’s 83.

She has managed to combine sadness, heartbreak, loss and grief with deep love and friendship, joy and laughter. If this is her debut, I am more than excited for what she brings to us in the future..

I have experienced end-of-life in both hospitals and hospices with loved ones, and you would think they are morbid places. But they are everything opposite to that. In my experience, they are friendly, loving, uplifting places. Perhaps living so close to death makes you realise and relish the joys of life that much more.

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