Saturday, June 29, 2024

Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder

Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne
7/9/24; 352 pages
St. Martin's Press

Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne follows a woman whose personality has been formed by repressed childhood trauma. This character driven debut novel is very highly recommended.

Lenny Marks, 37 years-old and single, is a fifth grade teacher at Selby South Primary School who is excels at not having a life. She keeps to herself and her routines. She eats the same things every week. She plays scrabble "with" Monica while watching Friends reruns. Lenny owns thirty-six copies of The Hobbit. Lenny may have difficulties reading people, but she is excellent with words. One of her coping mechanisms is rearranging the letters of words into as many anagrams as possible. Lenny Marks is also very good at not remembering what happened the day her mother and stepfather disappeared when she was still a child - until she is forced to remember.

Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder is a well-written debut novel that kept me totally immersed in Lenny's story throughout. This character driven novel truly is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. It is written in the same vein of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. The narrative starts out at an even pace and then, once readers are introduced to Lenny and her idiosyncrasies, it begins to pick up the pace and reveal what really happened in Lenny's past and how she got the scar on her leg.

Lenny is a memorable, intelligent, complicated, neurodivergent character. She survived incredible trauma as a child and found a way to keep living while repressing many of those memories. Her inner thoughts and reactions are written in a believable manner. Readers will love to see her trying to connect with people and her rescue of an abuse dog. 

Once her past is revealed, it is heartbreaking and all of Lenny's coping mechanisms make perfect sense. There are a few times you need to suspend some disbelief, but it is something you will gladly do in order to see Lenny through to the final denouement. Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder would be an excellent choice for book clubs! Thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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