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on June 16, 2016
Born in 1892, Moojie is orphaned and abandoned as an infant into the care of the nuns of San Miguel de las Gaviotas. A childless couple, the Littlemans, adopt the crippled child, and all seems well in Moojie’s life as he finds himself loved by his new parents. His life changes drastically, however, when his mother is killed in an accident and his father is unable to cope with her loss. Moojie is sent to his maternal grandfather’s fainting goat dairy where he suffers under the opressive guardianship of the only relative willing to take care of him. While living and working on the farm, Moojie comes to meet the Light-Eaters, a mystical group of otherworldly beings living nearby whom his grandfather and the other villagers come to believe are native Hostiles. As Moojie slowly grows up, he continues to search for a family and a place to belong, and as he becomes close to the Light-Eaters he begins to see in them that potential. Only as tragedy strikes the village, and Moojie is given the choice of either following the desires of his own heart or sacrificing himself to save the innocent, he discovers that his first big step towards becoming a man includes accepting his own place within the mystical world he inhabits which results in his finding the family he has always sought.

Robin Gregory’s "The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman" stands as a potent reminder that literature has the capability of both telling a story and standing on its own two feet as a form of art. The book effectively transcends the usual limits of language as the wording of the narrative is vibrant, organic and alive. While many elements of the story and the protagonist are reminescent of classic orphan characters such as Dickens’ Pip and Oliver Twist or Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, the style in which the story is told, both the setting and structural prose, is more akin to the magical realism of García Márquez. Booksellers may try to categorize "The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman" as Young Adult or Coming-of-Age, but this book should not be defined as a simple bildungsroman any more than it should be confined to being read only by the adolescent. Moojie inhabits a world not unlike our own, but Gregory writes with enough depth to properly draw readers of any age into another reality where improbable wonders and miracles of the soul truly do exist.
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on February 21, 2016
Moojie has so many strikes against him that survival of any kind seems improbable. He’s born with physical disabilities; is slow to talk and when he finally does, he stutters; he loses his mother and his father won’t have him; almost everyone taunts him; and he’s sent to live with a cantankerous grandfather at a place called St. Isidore’s Fainting Goat Dairy. If being named “Moojie” was the first curse, being sent to the dairy was just about the last straw.

But were more last straws to come.

His grandfather drinks, curses, works Moojie hard in spite of the young man’s weak legs and weak arms, constantly threatens to send him to an orphanage, and passionately has it out for the so-called “hostiles” who live in the surrounding forests.

While the hostiles first appear to have come from the land of faerie, Moojie discovers they’re a magical race tasked with demonstrating harmony in our world. He hopes their clan will accept him because, among other things, he has no true family to call his own. But will they trust him? He can scarcely trust himself. But he’s learning, and the realism of this process is well handled by the author.

Moojie, his grandfather, his meddlesome aunt, the clan members, and the townspeople are defined in spot-on detail. They have depth, though Moojie believes he’s shallow and inept at the beginning of this well-crafted and beautifully told tale. The book’s magical realism accentuates the abilities of the off-world clan family as well as the dormant gifts Moojie has been blessed (or possibly cursed) with.

Many will call this a coming-of-age novel. Yes it is. But that assessment is much too stale for such a fresh, rich story. The story is about making choices and the probable transformations that follow them. Other than a bit of sentimentality at the end, Robin Gregory’s novel is a wonder about wonders and highly recommended.
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on August 26, 2016
First of all, I fell in love with the cover of THE IMPROBABLE WONDERS OF MOOJIE LITTLEMAN. It reminded me of the covers to the books of fairy tales I read as a child. Little Moojie’s picture brought to mind the porcelain Hummel figurines my mother brought with her when she immigrated from Holland. Thankfully, the cover didn’t mislead. It introduced a story similar to the one I had envisioned, what John Algeo calls “a modern and sophisticated version of the fairy tale.” I loved the beautiful language Robin Gregory used to tell Moojie’s story. Moojie who is no ordinary child. Moojie who experiences “terrible wonders” and sees otherworldly visitors, who have come to teach the way of peace. “If life were all sunshine and chocolate,” his mother tells him, “there wouldn’t be any saints, and we’d never find our way back to heaven.” Robin Gregory also includes visionary/metaphysical concepts such as: “Whatever we envision clearly—as long as it is for the good of all—will appear.” Pick up Moojie Littleman and you’re in for a treat.
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on March 3, 2016
This is a truly delightful story. I was moved by its bittersweet beginning, as Moojie is abandoned by his birth parents and raised in a convent where he is never wanted or accepted. He's then adopted by a loving family but it turns out that he has serious physical and mental disabilities. Robin Gregory does an amazing job of portraying Moojie's mother's great love and boundless patience, which nourishes Moojie's soul until the untimely end of their relationship.

From that point on Moojie - a fragile and sensitive boy - longs for a love that the too-realistic world cannot provide. The author brings us into Moojie's heart in a way that we can all understand and relate to.

As Moojie grows, he learns to take care of himself - including his physical and mental challenges - in increasingly better ways. And yet he simply doesn't fit in with anyone else his age. The author creates for us - and for Moojie - a magical world in which Moojie has a great deal to offer and is respected and encouraged.

The lessons that Moojie learns from his otherworldly friends are important and simple ones - help others and make peace with your enemies. The author presents these values very clearly and simply enough that young adult readers can understand and think about them. It will be nice if adult readers can do the same!
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on March 22, 2016
Moojie was found by nuns on their doorstep after an earthquake. It was obvious right from the start that Moojie was a mysterious child with extraordinary powers; he could make objects move with his mind. Adopted by Henry and Kate Littleman before he turned one, Moojie briefly experienced the joy of being part of a family. After his adoptive mother’s death, the eight-year-old was sent to live with his grandpa at the St. Isidore's Fainting Goat Dairy. This is when his life really gets exciting!

This wonderful tale is mystical, humorous, and deeply moving. It was a pleasure to follow along in Moojie’s life and be a part of his amazing adventure. The author’s writing allowed me to believe that remarkable things are possible and miracles do happen. Throughout the story, I was constantly delighted by the creative and descriptive prose and continually surprised by the turn of events. I’ve “Followed” the author on Amazon to be notified of her next story, which is something I don’t do very often.
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on September 26, 2016
I had no idea what this book was about, but was intrigued by the cover and the awards it had won. The voice and the superb writing sucked me in from the first page. This is an unusual but powerful coming-of-age story, made even more surreal and poignant for me because I lost my mother unexpectedly while reading it and so my heart felt even more empathy for the MC. I recommend this book for anyone who has ever felt like a square peg in a world of round holes. You will be encouraged, and you will never forget this story!
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on July 2, 2016
This is a story of a boy who is adopted. Later, his parents find out he is disabled. It is a story about his journey of finding out his strengths through many fantastic adventures. Robin Gregory has a rare writing style which flows from word to word like a river in a way that I have rarely seen in other authors. I found myself entranced by her imagery, wit and profound thoughtful insights. I found myself reflecting on my own life after I read it. Recommended for both adults and children over 12.
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on November 24, 2016
“The problem with science was that it explained how God worked but not how to work with God. The problem with the Holy Scriptures was that they didn’t teach a boy how to capture a Girl with Starlit Eyes.”

Whimsical, sometimes touching, and with a narrative that moves like summer fireflies too quick to catch, The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman is filled with enough wonder and magic to capture the imagination of preteen and early teens. While it is clear from an adult standpoint that that is the audience at whom this wonderfully written fable is aimed, the lessons underscoring this account of Moojie’s life widen its appeal considerably.

The reader is an observer of this fantastic tale, but one invested in its outcome. In essence, the chapters are like slideshows of Moojie’s life. If there is a caveat — at least for an adult reader — it is that the swiftness at which the author shows us Moojie’s life and adventures — and misadventures — fly by so quickly, it leaves little time to appreciate the many imaginative trappings. It also makes it difficult at first to make an emotional connection with Moojie, who for the first quarter of the book is somewhat bratty. I suspect that young teens and preteens however, will love the blistering pace, and appreciate Moojie’s growth and confusion as he encounters a world filled with magical realism; which might be the key to finding love and family, the two things he most wants in the world.

It is obvious right away that there is magic that lurks within Moojie — including a very special power I won’t reveal. This is despite the fact that he is crippled, and has trouble speaking and writing. Though he is adopted, things are not all peaches and cream in Moojie’s life where love is concerned. Once Moojie loses someone — I won’t reveal who — his need for love and family increase, while the love around him decreases. But then he becomes involved with the Hostiles, who may not be hostile at all. This is when the narrative, already quickly flowing, takes wings.

The author creates a whimsical yet tender narrative filled with a plethora of detail, but because the story is told so well, it never bogs down. Moojie’s affection for Babylonia and how young love plays out is beautifully handled, as are the lessons about life and how we treat one another. Anything but heavy-handed, this book is like a light-show of Hostiles and Light Eaters, magic watermelons and Cave Dwellers, and lessons regarding how important it is to live by a moral code. In the end, it shows how important it is to find our place in the world, a place where we belong, and are loved — even if that place is not perfect.

Moojie’s life with his adoptive parents cover the first portion of the narrative, the time with his Pappy covering the middle of the book. The last third — and most exciting — has much action, and brings everything to a satisfying ending. It is this last third which will have teen and preteen readers racing to see how it all works out for Moojie. A life-altering decision he makes near the end, might come as a surprise. While it took me a while — as an adult — to make a connection, and I felt the first portion might have been trimmed a bit, the world created here, and the manner in which it is told, show a very talented and imaginative writer with a gift for storytelling. I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if this takes off like a rocket once word begins spreading.
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on May 24, 2016
The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman is an enjoyable read on many levels. That fact alone makes it refreshing. I absolutely loved the fact that the character had so many strikes against him, yet it is not a pity party. The elements of visionary fiction combined with a classical brit lit approach were intriguing. That being said, there were passages in the middle of the book that seemed to drag and had me forcing a read which detracted a bit from the overall experience until the final third which picked up the pace. Still, the fact that the book can be read on a more superficial, literal level as well as on a deeper level scores points in this reader’s book.
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on May 16, 2016
A wondrous novel by a gifted writer. Moojie is an abandoned handicapped orphan whose adoptive mother dies when he is young and is abandoned by his father to suffer an abusive life on his grandfather’s farm on the Californian coast at the end of the 1800’s. The constant threat of being sent away keeps Moojie on his toes as he yearns for meaning beyond his unloving grandfather, a deaf cat and an arthritic old horse who takes him high in the mountains where he discovers a mysterious clan of “Hostiles” who seem to live a different reality as they steal from, and are hunted and despised by the pioneers on the west coast. The parallels to the white man’s treatment of the first nations of America during its conquest are contrasted to what must have been a rich life in harmony with their natural surroundings which the conquerors destroyed with their missions and violence and hunger for land. This strange group living in a cave high in the mountains call Moojie “my lord,” recognize his special powers and teach him some of the magic which is normal to them, and become his new family. But they are destined for a greater end than to be hunted by the pioneers and though they accept Moojie, it is never on completely equal terms. For they are creatures from some parallel dimension or world that have come and will eventually have to face their own destiny, and the love that Moojie finds in beautiful Babylonia, the egg-snatcher, cannot be consummated as she is tormented and taken for “his” by one of the more powerful, but low-life, Hostiles. Moojie struggles to win the love of his Grandfather, to overcome his disabilities (his left hand is withered and he struggles on braces and crutches) all the while gaining power, wisdom and respect from the beings of “light” who become an unreachable family, but teach him laws like “make peace with your enemy.” All the while there is the threat of earthquakes, and perhaps worse doom in the form of an Aunt who threatens to take him away from what has become his successful adaptation to the farm life tending to cows and sheep and chickens. Then there is the looming presence of his abandoning father, as Moojie’s heart is rent again and again with experiences and memories and hopes and the magic of what will become his coming-of-age and resolution of his quest in a moving story that will be hard to forget. A magical novel full of mysticism, magic and a sobering struggle to overcome the trials and tribulations of a very special boy who respects no boundaries and carries a heart that has no limits.
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