Martin's Must-Reads: 'The 100 Years of Lenni and Margot'
"Somewhere, out in the world, are the people who touched us, or loved us, or ran from us. In that way we will live on. We are in the back of hundreds of people’s photographs - moving, talking, blurring into the background of a picture two strangers have framed on their living room mantelpiece. And in that way, we will live on too. But it isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to have been a particle in the great extant of existence. I want, we want, more. We want for people to know us, to know our story, to know what we are and who we will be. And after we’ve gone, to know who we were. So, we will paint a picture for every year we have been alive. One hundred paintings for one hundred years.”
Those are some lines from Marianne Cronin’s novel The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot. Seventeen-year-old Lenni is terminally ill and eighty-three year old Margot is waiting for a potentially life-saving surgery. They meet in an art room in a Glasgow hospital and form an instant friendship. They decide to create one hundred paintings illustrating the details of their lives. Because Margot is more of an artist than Lenni, Lenni also records Margot’s stories in her diary. Lenni has no visitors so the bonds she creates with Margot and her palliative care nurse and the hospital chaplain are important to the quality of her final days.
This is a sometimes funny, but mostly touching, story of people connecting and caring for one another in the only ways that truly matter. It’s also a reminder of the importance of chronicling not only your own life’s story but of those you have loved and lost.
If you’re looking for a story with unique characters that will touch your heart, then you must read The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin.