Book Review: The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

Read Dates:

July 6 – July 10, 2021

Star Rating:

5

TL;DR:

Lenni is 17 and dying of a terminal illness, but determined to make the most of her short life in the May ward. When she meets 83 year-old Margot, she realizes that together they have lived 100 years, and the two conspire to celebrate their lives in a unique and imaginative way. It’s a simple plot, with endearing characters that will stay with you for life.

Full Review:

FIVE once-in-lifetime-astral-event stars for The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot. I am not sure I have ever cried so hard – and so unexpectedly – while reading. I’m talking big, heaping, audible sobs. I knew I was likely to cry at the end, but Marianne Cronin had me bawling on pages 286-292 for a supporting character I had NO idea that I had completely fallen in love with. What kind of writing sorcery is that!? And then the tears just kept on rolling right up to Lenni’s Last Page.

But let me clarify – this is definitively not a depressing book. I laughed through a lot of it and spent most of it inspired by the nostalgic wisdom of 83 year-old Margot, and the cynical optimism of good-hearted yet mischievous 17 year-old Lenni. Together they have lived a hundred years, and Margot gives terminally ill Lenni the gift of a literal lifetime in an indelible and stunning way.

As I read, I mentally noted some criticism I thought I had, but it seems Cronin frequently and intentionally leads the reader down what we THINK is a familiar, cliché-ridden path, only to plop us in absolutely uncharted terrain, leaving us utterly rocked by emotions never fully accessed before. Nothing but positive praise for this one.

Bottom line:

If you’re experiencing ennui – this one will wake the dead in terms of the emotional punch it packs.

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