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The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot: A Novel

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot: A Novel

by Marianne Cronin

Narrated by Sheila Reid, Rebecca Benson

Unabridged — 10 hours, 53 minutes

Marianne Cronin
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot: A Novel

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot: A Novel

by Marianne Cronin

Narrated by Sheila Reid, Rebecca Benson

Unabridged — 10 hours, 53 minutes

Marianne Cronin

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Overview

“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 

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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

04/26/2021

Cronin’s touching debut is a joyous celebration of friendship, love, and life. Lenni Pettersson, 17, is dying from an unspecified illness. During her stay as a patient at Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital, she befriends Margot Macrae, an 83-year-old dying of heart disease. After an art therapist named Pippa shows Lenni how to paint, an idea slips into her mind “like a silverfish”: she suggests that she and Margot make 100 paintings illustrating their cumulative years of life. Meanwhile, Margot’s life story gradually emerges in chapters from her point of view. She has been in love with a woman named Meena since before she met her husband, who has since died, and decides that if her surgery goes well she will meet Meena in Vietnam and accept her marriage proposal. While the narrative voice sometimes feels a bit too childlike for a 17-year-old, the story offers plenty of uplifting wisdom (Pippa reminds Lenni and Margot they are “living,” not “dying”). Fans of life-affirming tearjerkers will be touched. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (June)

From the Publisher

With a sensibility that's as compassionate and quirky as those of her two indelible heroines, Marianne Cronin offers a deceptively lighthearted response to life’s heaviest questions. As Lenni and Margot leave their mark on one another, so too does this tearjerker of a book leave its mark on the reader.” — Kathleen Rooney, author of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey    

 “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

“Sharp and funny, warm and wise, a remarkable friendship sparks two lifetimes of shared stories in one unforgettable book. I loved it.” — Jess Kidd, author of Himself

“Gorgeously poignant novel . . . unexpectedly funny, touching and so uplifting.” — Good Housekeeping

"A gorgeous, heartbreaking story readers won't soon forget." — Elle (Most Anticipated Books of 2021)

"With it's uplifting message, the story is both poignant and also comical." — Cosmopolitan (20 Book's You're Going to Want to Read this Summer)

“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 (Author of the Month)

"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

“You need a hanky to hand for this exquisite story of friendship . . . Their story is the most beautifully written love letter to friendship, managing to make you laugh and cry uncontrollably. It’s quite simply brilliant!” — Woman & Home, UK

“This multi-generational novel about friendship is something special: moving, joyful, and life-affirming.” — Good Housekeeping, UK (Book of the Month)

“Glorious debut about friendship . . . Touching, honest, and funny.” — Prima (Book of the Month)

"A heart-warming story about how friendship can grow between people of different generations." — BBC

"A beautiful, tender ode to friendship, love and our chosen legacies." — Washington Post (Best Feel-Good Books of 2021)

“Cronin’s characters are fully drawn, and chime together to tell a sweet story about connection, loss, and living.” — Irish Times

"Cronin’s touching debut is a joyous celebration of friendship, love, and life." — Publishers Weekly

"Marianne Cronin’s first novel brims with so much life. . . . With love and tenderness on every page, this imaginative novel is a joy to read." — BookPage (starred review)

"After meeting in the terminal ward’s art class, two women (one 17 and one 83) bond through life, love and friendship in this Uplifting and heartstring-tugging story." — Parade (Ultimate Summer Reading List)

Booklist

"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."

Harper’s Bazaar

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.

Good Housekeeping

Gorgeously poignant novel . . . unexpectedly funny, touching and so uplifting.

Woman & Home

You need a hanky to hand for this exquisite story of friendship . . . Their story is the most beautifully written love letter to friendship, managing to make you laugh and cry uncontrollably. It’s quite simply brilliant!

Jess Kidd

Sharp and funny, warm and wise, a remarkable friendship sparks two lifetimes of shared stories in one unforgettable book. I loved it.

Cosmopolitan (20 Book's You're Going to Want to Read this Summer)

"With it's uplifting message, the story is both poignant and also comical."

Kathleen Rooney

With a sensibility that's as compassionate and quirky as those of her two indelible heroines, Marianne Cronin offers a deceptively lighthearted response to life’s heaviest questions. As Lenni and Margot leave their mark on one another, so too does this tearjerker of a book leave its mark on the reader.

Joanna Cannon

Graceful, intelligent, beautiful writing. Full of wisdom and kindness. It is just the kind of book I adore.

Elle (Most Anticipated Books of 2021)

"A gorgeous, heartbreaking story readers won't soon forget."

Booklist

"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."

BBC

"A heart-warming story about how friendship can grow between people of different generations."

Irish Times

Cronin’s characters are fully drawn, and chime together to tell a sweet story about connection, loss, and living.

BookPage (starred review)

"Marianne Cronin’s first novel brims with so much life. . . . With love and tenderness on every page, this imaginative novel is a joy to read."

Prima (Book of the Month)

Glorious debut about friendship . . . Touching, honest, and funny.

Parade (Ultimate Summer Reading List)

"After meeting in the terminal ward’s art class, two women (one 17 and one 83) bond through life, love and friendship in this Uplifting and heartstring-tugging story."

"With it's uplifting message, the story is both poignant and also comical."

Elle

"A gorgeous, heartbreaking story readers won't soon forget."

Rebecca Thomas

"A heart-warming story about how friendship can grow between people of different generations."

Lauren Puckett

". . . a gorgeous, heartbreaking story readers won't soon forget."

Library Journal

06/01/2021

DEBUT Lenni, 17, is a patient at the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. She is utterly, irresistibly, forthrightly charming. She's also dying. Long separated from her mother, and unable to bear her father's crushing grief, Lenni mercifully sends him away to find comfort with his Polish girlfriend. Lenni expands her shrinking world by visiting the chapel to discuss religion with the soon-to-be-retired hospital chaplain, and by regularly attending the hospital's art classes, where she meets 83-year-old Margot, who is also dying. The two become quick friends, and when Lenni realizes their ages add up to 100, she devises a project where they tell the stories of their lives in 100 drawings. Moving back and forth in time, the narrative beautifully renders Margot's much-longer life in paintings of a lost baby, a missing husband, a complicated lifelong friendship with a woman she loves, and astronomy. Holding all the pieces together are Lenni's exquisite honesty, humor, and curiosity at the life she won't live. VERDICT Readers will know by page two that sharp-tongued, funny, brave Lenni will break their heart, and that they'll be all in for the ride. Rich for its cast of characters unique in their messiness, humanity, and kindness, debut author Cronin's masterpiece won't let go, long after the last page.—Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

School Library Journal

12/01/2021

Seventeen-year-old Lenni lives in the section of the Glasgow hospital for those who are terminally ill. She is alone because her mother returned to Sweden and Lenni told her father to follow a new girlfriend to Poland since his visits depressed her. She creates her own family with new friends. Father Arthur, the hospital chaplain, accepts her wit and disbelief when they speak. Lenni does not enjoy the company of other teens and joins an art session for those over 80, where she and 83-year-old Margot become close. The structure of the novel is clever as Lenni and Margot paint the story of their combined 100 years. The bittersweet story relates Margot's tragedies and romances while Lenni provides humorous dialogue. Teens will love the tearjerker ending. VERDICT Purchase for all collections serving teens.—Karlan Sick, formerly at New York P.L.

Kirkus Reviews

2021-03-17
Seventeen-year-old Lenni Pettersson is terminally ill, a long-term, motherless patient rarely visited by her father. But in her final months, she gathers a new family of quirky characters who inhabit Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital.

As the days drift by on May Ward (the sad name for the hospital wing housing the medically hopeless cases), Lenni seeks something to fill her time. One day, she decides to visit the chapel even though she is not particularly spiritual and her religious training is haphazard at best—biblical parables have gotten tangled up with fairy tales and worries about homelessness. Yet there she meets Father Arthur, her first soul mate. Just months away from retirement, the priest finds in Lenni a witty, playful friend. She’s just as likely to good-naturedly mock his vestments as to ask him why she is dying. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the hospital, a young office temp is trying to use her art degree to snag a full-time job. Although her work backfires a bit when she loses her job to a proper teacher, the art therapy program she creates introduces Lenni to Margot. An 83-year-old woman awaiting her own death, Margot instantly clicks with Lenni. Recognizing that their ages add up to 100, Lenni and Margot embark on a massive project: 100 works of art to represent their entire century of life. Well, it’s mostly Margot’s art, because she’s a wonderful artist, and Lenni’s stories, because she’s a terrible artist. Threading together these two lives, Cronin not only embellishes Lenni’s brief sojourn with Margot’s dramatic adventures, but also nimbly avoids drifting into sentimental clichés. So as Lenni’s health declines, Margot’s stories chase her true love through a broken marriage, criminal escapades, unexpected liaisons, and even a lost chicken story.

A whimsical, joyous portrait of the ends of things.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176414349
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/04/2021
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews