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Land of a Hundred Wonders
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Land of a Hundred Wonders

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,486 Ratings  ·  244 Reviews

From New York Times bestselling author Lesley Kagen comes another poignant, funny, and unforgettable novel.

Brain damaged after a tragic car accident that took both her parents, Gibby McGraw is now NQR (Not Quite Right), a real challenge for a fledgling newspaper reporter. Especially when she stumbles upon the dead body
ebook, 0 pages
Published July 29th 2008 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published July 1st 2008)
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Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandi by: Borders Buy One, Get One Half Off
Shelves: 2008
I admit it, "Land of a Hundred Wonders" is probably only worth four stars. But, I gave it five stars because it made me cry. I had tears streaming down my checks and it wasn't from any cheap, cheesy manipulation. I rarely cry over books, but this one got me.

I'm not going to write a synopsis of this book, the back cover and the blurbs here and on Amazon sum up the story pretty well. What I am going to say is that this book is really well written. I heard Gibby's voice in my head, not my voice rea
Jeanine Marie Swenson

Gifted bestselling author, Lesley Kagen, has weaved another masterful yarn with her second publication, Land of A Hundred Wonders. Set in a small, rural town in Kentucky, we are quickly immersed in the dialect, culture and world of the 1970's. The heroine, Gabby McGraw, has suffered a terrible accident and family tragedy and struggles to rebuild her identity, memories, relationships and family network. Through the masterful use of metaphor, humor and intrigue, Kagen humanizes universal struggles
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book because it showed that there is hope, love and friendship for everyone despite or because of hardships. Nobody's life is perfect and the characters in this book have more than their share of problem's: Gib's brain damage, Billy's post traumatic stress disorder, Clever's emotional abandonment by her mother as well as raciscm, incest and the death of loved ones. Despite or because of their problems, Gib and her friends are able to draw closer and love.
Dec 03, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tried-to-read
Maybe I was looking for more, but I really couldn't get into or finish this book. . .
I rarely give up on a book, but I couldn't wait any longer for something to happen.
I know that Gibby was NQR and felt like the author wasn't willing to write an involved story line in order to have the reader get the sense that Gibby needed things to be simple.
catherine james
Though she survived the wreckage that took her parents lives one rainy summer night, that near fatal car accident left Gibby McGraw N(ot).Q(uite).R(ight).
While she spends her mornings working at Grandpa Charlie's Top o'the Morning Diner, her afternoons visiting the residents of Cray Ridge, Kentucky, running errands while Grandpa fishes, and gathering information to put in the stories she writes for Gibby's Gazette, Gibby also realizes everyone in town thinks she's diminished. Heck, even Sheriff
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Set in 1973, Gibby MaGraw has lost her parents to an automobile crash that she survived. But she did suffer brain damage that has left her NQR (Not Quite Right). This makes being a newspaper reporter pretty challenging.

While out looking for her next big story she stumbles upon the dead body of the next governor of Kentucky, Buster Malloy. She figures if she can solve the murder and write a fantastic news article she will show everyone including her mother in heaven that she is on the road to bec
Julie Barichello
I wanted to like this book.

Last year I read "Whistling in the Dark" by Lesley Kagen and enjoyed it. When I came across "Land of Hundred Wonders" in a used book store during a vacation in Longmont, CO, I was more than willing to give it a try -- particularly since there is a journalism angle, albeit a loose angle.

The biggest disappointment of this novel lies in the emotion falling flat. The reader is supposed to care Gibby's parents died in a car crash, but the sentimentality of that is never sol
Laura Edwards
Jun 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had mixed feelings about this book. I'd actually heard the author give a talk a couple of years ago and she was hilarious. And there were passages throughout the book which had me chuckling out loud. The premise of a narrator who suffered minor brain damage from a serious head injury is an interesting one. Unfortunately, it is also the main thing which causes the book to bog down at points, slowing to a turtle's crawl and making me mutter, "Get on with it". And while the "good" characters were ...more
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lynne
Shelves: general-fiction
A light-hearted romp! NQR (Not Quite Right) Gibby, self-appointed editor-in-chief and the sole reporter of her one-woman newspaper is hot on the trail of a murder mystery. Gibby aims to solve the murder in order to cease the cloud pacing of her poor dead mama (or really wow the wings off her by winning the weekly Appleville Scrabble tournament.) Gibby is a charmer. Her pluck, determination, and tendency to be just slightly off (with comments such as dead as a store nail) and none too shy (she in ...more
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are not enough words to describe how disappointed I was, after finishing this book. I read the rave reviews and I thought it was going to be an exceptional novel, it as nowhere near that or anywhere closet to it. I could`nt follow the story, it was not very consistent, not only that but the characters were not as developed. The lead character Gibby had potential, as well as her grandfather, but the plot was not convincing enough for me and it left a lot of unanswered questions. ...more
Mar 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A feel good book. I loved the colloquialisms ("Like in some of those Bible stories. Ya know how you got to ponder them some to figure out what the hell the Lord is really trying to tell you? Like when He uses that word 'smote' and you're not exactly sure what He means by that, but you get a sense that he's madder than a sprayed roach?") and malapropisms ("Miracles really are in the eyes of the beholden." And "Hope springs internal.) The writing was a delight!
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lesley Kagen is one of my all time favorite authors! Every character is so true to life.
My daughter had brain surgery and for awhile she was NQR (thank God she is now back to herself) so I could relate to the frustration Gibby felt. The only thing that is wrong with this book is that it had to end. lol I want Mrs. Kagen's books to go on and on! Can't wait to read Mare's Nest and the new one she is working on!!!
I had a little more trouble getting into this than Lesley Kagen's first book, Whistling in the Dark. That being said, the central characters, Gibby, Grampa and Clever and Billy, are so charming they soon won me over and by the end I was reluctant to leave their company.
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Reads a lot like Secret Life of Bees. The main character's attitude, ignorance and observations are similar to Lily's in Bees. I laughed. I was touched. Great read!
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cat for

Though she survived the wreckage that took her parents lives one rainy summer night, that near-fatal car accident left Gibby McGraw N(ot).Q(uite).R(ight).

While she spends her mornings working at Grandpa Charlie's Top o'the Morning Diner, her afternoons visiting the residents of Cray Ridge, Kentucky, running errands while Grandpa fishes, and gathering information to put in the stories she writes for Gibby's Gazette, Gibby also realizes everyone in town thinks s
Educating Drew
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
"I'm knocked up," she says.
"I know how you favor those knock-knock jokes as much as Grampa," I say, swiping off eraser crumbs. "So I'm real sorry, but I don't have time to be honing my sense of humor right now. It's vital I get this story done."
"Being knocked up don't have nuthin' to do with a joke. It ain't funny."
"Well, what does it have to do with then?" I ask, fussy. Besides feeling like a full-out failure when I don't understand what something means, I fear Mama's gonna wear her pacing
Nov 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The is an interesting read -- part murder mystery, but also a great character study. The narrator, Gibby, has suffered a traumatic brain injury in ca car crash. The accident not only killed her parents but resulted in her being "Not Quite Right," a state she is determined to change. Set in rural Kentucky in the 1970s, the story is peopled with a variety of quirky personalities including Billy Brown, a Vietnam vet who came back from the war a different person than he had been before; Gibby's best ...more
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second book by Leslie Kagen is a treat! It is chock full of characters that surround, Gibby, a young woman who has suffered a brain injury in a car accident. She is trying to get back to being Quite Right or QR through being an investigative reporter. She is a special person who is a sweet good friend identifying situations (positive & negative) around her as best she can. She has trouble with language because of the brain injury and some hilarious interpretations ensue. I loved that th ...more
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gibby has been NQR (Not Quite Right) since she suffered a brain injury in an automobile accident that also made her an orphan at age 17. Her childlike speech, as she is unable to "filter" what she says, is often inappropriate or impolite, and makes the book more fun.

Gibby's doctors said she may improve if her brain is stimulated enough, but after three years, Grampa has nearly given up hope that she will ever be QR (Quite Right) and he just wants to keep her safe, which is complicated when a be
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fic
After finishing - and being super impressed by - Kagen’s debut novel, Whistling In the Dark, I anticipated the release of this, her second book with a lot of anticipation. And it lived up to it! I really enjoyed reading it - it’s a lovely novel and absolutely filled with wonders - just as the title promised. Well-written, combined with Kagen’s wonderful sense of humour and excellent plotting, Kagel truly succeeded here. The narrator, however, truly stole the show.Both original and charming, Kage ...more
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kentucky
I found this book in the dollar bin at Borders and picked it up with no real expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. The story is about a young woman, Gibby, who is NQR (not quite right) after being in a car accident that killed her parents. She lives with her Grandpa in the backwoods of Kentucky and struggles to remember events in her life. When she finds the next governor of Kentucky murdered on the beach she sets out to solve the mystery of his death herself, so she can become QR (quite rig ...more
Jun 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unique story with even more one-of-a-kind characters. A truly original protagonist who refers to herself as NQR, (not quite right). As a result of a horrendous car crash, she is left with developmental problems that she is clever enough to realize. She strives to become and prove herself to be QR someday. Part drama, part love story, part mystery. A delightful summer/beach read that will leave you truly satisfied at the end.

This is the second of Lesley Kagen's books for me and they've both pleas
Oct 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I believe I've ever read where the narrator is "NQR" (not quite right). She's a young woman who has experienced a tragedy in her family and is now living with the results from a head injury. But, before you decide that it sounds too, too depressing to read, wait! It is a very funny book! My husband read it after I did and told me that he was having to be careful not to wake me up laughing at the character's descriptions of life being "NQR". Mrs. Kagen has created some wond ...more
Mar 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love books like this, that are full of characters brimming with goodness and love. The protagonist has short-term memory loss/brain damage from a car crash that left her an orphan. She lives with her Grampa in small town Kentucky in 1973, where she helps him run his diner and self-publishes a newspaper. She finds a dead body and wants to investigate the mystery to break the story, and all kinds of nasty characters (and golden ones) come out of the woodwork. I think this is the first book I've ...more
Erikajean Jean
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like this book! Though it was a little sad at times how people treated Gibby, the main character, I found this book to be a bit funny. She might be a little brain damaged,a little slow, and not quite remember everything, but she is certainly not stupid. This book touched on just about everything... family, relationships, secrets, miracles, abuse, love and race just to name a few. I got a little teary eyed in two spots on this book, and I think that any book that can spark emotion from i ...more
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the theme of the main character, Gibby, wanting to prove to her deceased mother, that she could become QR (quite right) instead of NQR (not quite right), by solving a murder case in the small town in which she lives.

Brain damaged after a tragic accident that killed both her mother and her father, Gibby has trouble remembering and focusing. While hard at first to follow her train of thought, the story gears up as little by little people, most notably the unbeknownst to her, love of her li
Barb Heart
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved Gib -- a brain damaged young girl from an accident that changed her life and that of others around her.... Set in early 70's this little book has small town issues, racial issues, those of dirty dealings (including the sherriff), a vietnam vet, a sweet grandfather, and it even has a slimy no good sex predator. What is so amazing is the way Gibs mind works and her sayings are a little off which causes many looks and leaves the reader with many smiles. Oh I would love to see this as a movi ...more
Michele Minor
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is unique in that the story is told from the point of view of a character who had suffered brain damage as the result of a traumatic brain injury. The author catches Gibby's point of view correctly in that she wants to get back to normal and realizes that she isn't quite right. When she finds the dead body of Buster Malloy who is running for governor of Kentucky she decides to investigate the murder for her small paper in order to prove that she is back to normal. She discovers family ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that sound really crazy before you read it. And it is actually, but it's crazy in the best way. All of Kagen's characters are bizarrely endearing and somehow believable, even while they're doing the most outrageous things.

Is it possible for anyone not to love Gibby, the NQR (not quite right) heroine on a mission to become QR (quite right)? I'm betting not. Gibby is one those characters I wish I could chat with over a cup of tea. I missed her when I was finished reading
Nov 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gibby survived an auto accident that claimed the lives of both of her parents. She survived, but she's NQR (not quite right) and now lives with her Grandpa. This book is filled with Southern charm and characters. Set in the 1970s, you get a peek into the way of the world there and then. This novel has a little mystery, a little romance, and a lot of humor. Gibby's inside view of a head injured patient was fascinating to me. It was an easy read, a nice story, and a great way to spend a few hours.
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Lesley Kagen is a mother of two, a grandmother of two, an actress, celebrated public speaker, essayist, and the award winning, New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including her newest, THE MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY, which will be released in January 2017. She lives in a charming small town in Wisconsin in a hundred-fifty-year-old farm house with her dog, Gracie.

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“So might I suggest at your earliest convenience that you pay a visit to the Okins Funeral Salon to make arrangements?"
"Why'd I wanna do that?" she says so damn snippy.
"Because on my return visit you can count on my beatin' the ever-lovin' shit outta you with a rusty shovel. Twice.”
“All my nose is picking up on is the smell of green alfalfa hay and baling twine. I check with Keeper to see if he's sniffing up either hide or hair of Sneaky Tim Ray since my dog can can whiff dubious intentions from an acre away. People can hide their badness from one another, but the scent of wrongdoing is pungent and unmistakable to our four-legged friends.” 1 likes
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