The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot Book Rating: Five Stars
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot: An Audiobook Review
Last week, I purchased Marianne Cronin’s debut novel through Audible’s daily deal. The publisher’s synopsis convinced me the audiobook was worth $3.95 USD, and it certainly was. The narrators, Sheila Reid and Rebecca Benson were both perfect for their parts. By having a young woman narrate Lenni and an older woman narrate Margot, the story is brought to life.
Plot Summary from Publisher
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.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot: The Book Review
Lenni is a terminally ill 17 year old Swedish native who will spend the remainder of her short life in the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. Although she is dying, she is not inclined to spend the rest of her life in the sterile hospital room where her daily visitors consist only of doctors and nurses. She heads to the hospital chapel to break up the monotony of dying. There, she meets the soon-to-be-retired Father Arthur.
Father Arthur is what a priest should be, kind and humble, with a good heart. He and Lenni form a bond that goes beyond religion. Their relationship is endearing. While it is a subplot of the book, it will live in my memory as the type of friendship the rest of us are lucky to find: two people from different worlds searching for answers to life’s questions. Lenni and Father Arthur do not find the answers, but they find each other, and that is enough.
Margot is an 83 year old woman who is terminally ill with a heart condition. She meets Lenni and they decide to complete 100 paintings in the art therapy room at the hospital. Each painting represents one of their combined 100 years. The author presents each year in the form of Margot or Lenni telling the other the story of that year. Through these moments, they relive their lives together. Margot tells her life story – full of loss, reinvention, and all the different types of love she has experienced.
This is a book where the two main characters are both terminally ill. They will both die. You’ll fall in love with them anyway. I’m typing this review with swollen eyes, as I finished this book last night before bed. Even though it was a tearjerker, I’d read it again.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is a lovely novel and really helps us look at our lives from the outside in. I thought of what my own 42 paintings would look like, and what I want my remaining paintings to be.
The Audiobook Review
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is a remarkably good novel. That being said, the voice acting of Sheila Reid and Rebecca Benson takes the story to a new level. The accents are beautiful, and the emotions are pure. If you are fortunate enough to have a choice, listen to this book. You will want the narrator’s voices speaking Lenni, Margot, and Father Arthurs words. This is one of those cases where the voice actors take the story to an entirely new level.
Book Club and Discussion Questions (SPOILERS)
Once you learned about Lenni’s parents, did it change your opinion of them? Of Lenni?
Margot’s first husband, Johnny – why doesn’t Margot go after him?
Does the Temp and the Homeless Man’s relationship mirror Lenni’s relationship with her father? Margot’s relationship with Johnny?
What moments would you paint from your life, excluding marriages, births, and deaths? Are there any simple, everyday moments that you would describe for Lenni?
Nurse Jackie calls security on Lenni. How would you have handled Jackie if you were her boss? If you were the security guard?
Father Arthur fills a role in Lenni’s life – how would you define that role?
Penguin has a long list of book club questions here.
About Marianne Cronin
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is Marianne Cronin’s debut novel. Her Amazon author page describes her previous work as “academia, writing things that nobody wanted to read (not even my mum!). ” I stalked her Instagram (@itsmariannecronin) and while she has lots of promotional photos and snapshots of this book, there are no mentions of anything yet to come. I’ll be sure to write about it if I hear what’s coming next! You can always hear the latest book news by subscribing to Breezy Afternoons or following me at the social media links below.
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