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“The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot” by Marianne Cronin

Lenni is a 17-year-old-girl living out her days in a ward at Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital for people who are terminally ill.  She has a lot of living to do in the short time that she has left.  Margot is an 83-year-old woman who has lived a full life and is also a resident of the same hospital.  She is not ready to stop living her life.  These two meet and begin a fulfilling and lovely friendship full of kindness, connection and adventure.

Lenni has a different viewpoint of life and surprises the people she meets along the way with her comments and ideas:  Margot, the new nurse, Father Arthur, the friendly porter . . . she is a girl without a supportive family and somehow manages to create her own family at the hospital.  She is a young person who doesn’t have time to become the person she could be.  She is searching for who she is and what she believes.

Margot is a woman who has known suffering.  She was a young girl with dreams, a loving wife, a new mother, a dear friend, and she lost so much along the journey of her life.  Lenni longs to understand and know Margot.  Once she learns about the painting class at the hospital for the older residents, she begins attending.  She and Margot share their stories, their histories through the medium of a series of paintings.  Lenni thinks it would be wonderful if she and Margot created paintings, one for each year of their collective lives – 100 paintings that snapshot moments in their lives that feel meaningful to them.

They work on the paintings and come care for each other deeply.  This is an affirming story although not necessarily a happy one.  I admit to a few tears along the read.