The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot – a generational story about finding love
We could all use a little bit of optimism and joy these days, and no one is better primed to help us rediscover what makes us happy than Lenni and Margot. In The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, 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.
Despite living a life full of romantic love, Margot spent most of it repressing her queerness and avoiding naming her one true love. That is, until her friendship with Lenni inspired her to live the rest of her years embracing her true self. Though the end is near, life isn’t quite done with these unforgettable women just yet. It’s the perfect story of love for Pride Month!
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. This charming, fiercely alive, and disarmingly funny debut novel, is a brave testament to the power of living each day to the fullest. It;s a tribute to the stories that we live, and a reminder of our unlimited capacity for friendship and love.
Available from Harper Collins.
Marianne Cronin was born in 1990 and grew up in Warwickshire, England, and currently resides in West Midlands. She studied English at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. Her debut novel, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, is to be translated into more than 20 languages, and is being adapted into a
feature film by a major Hollywood studio.
Lenni and Margot came into my life in 2014 while I was at university. A fellow student, who had spent years living defiantly in the face of death, passed away. On the day she died, I was in the supermarket and I was struck with the thought that none of the people browsing in this mundane supermarket on this mundane day had any idea that the world was now without her.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot quickly grew out of the question: how we can leave our mark on the world and what we can do to bring meaning to our lives and our deaths? It’s about all of the odd and wild and perfect moments that make up one person’s time on the earth, whether that time is long or short.
Lenni and Margot’s friendship is unlikely in many ways, but inevitable in many others. The fierce alliance they make changes both of their lives and the theme of the saving grace of friendship is woven throughout the novel. Lenni is missing a lot when we meet her, but she assembles a “found family” with Margot, with Father Arthur, the lonely hospital chaplain who eats a lot of egg and cress sandwiches, and her doting but inexperienced palliative care nurse.
I’m writing this letter in the midst of the fog that is 2020. And I hope Lenni and Margot bring you something you need at this time, whether that is distraction, hope, a smile or just the love of a good egg and cress sandwich.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.