Read What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges Online


Just about everything in Endora, Iowa (pop. 1,091 and dwindling) is eating Gilbert Grape, a twenty-four-year-old grocery clerk who dreams only of leaving. His enormous mother, once the town sweetheart, has been eating nonstop ever since her husband's suicide, and the floor beneath her TV chair is threatening to cave in. Gilbert's long-suffering older sister, Amy, still mouJust about everything in Endora, Iowa (pop. 1,091 and dwindling) is eating Gilbert Grape, a twenty-four-year-old grocery clerk who dreams only of leaving. His enormous mother, once the town sweetheart, has been eating nonstop ever since her husband's suicide, and the floor beneath her TV chair is threatening to cave in. Gilbert's long-suffering older sister, Amy, still mourns the death of Elvis, and his knockout younger sister has become hooked on makeup, boys, and Jesus--in that order, but the biggest event on the horizon for all the Grapes is the eighteenth birthday of Gilbert's younger brother, Arnie, who is a living miracle just for having survived so long. As the Grapes gather in Endora, a mysterious beauty glides through town on a bicycle and rides circles around Gilbert, until he begins to see a new vision of his family and himself....

Title : What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780671038540
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 319 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

What's Eating Gilbert Grape Reviews

  • Ana
    2019-06-27 12:18

    Endora is where we are, and you need to know that describing this place is like dancing to no music. It’s a town. Farmers. Town square. Old movie theater closed down so we have to drive sixteen miles to Motley to see movies. Probably half the town is over sixty-five, so you can imagine the raring place Endora is on weekend nights. The bright side for me is difficult on mornings like these. There’s no escaping that I’m twenty-four years old, that I’ve been out of Iowa a whopping one whole time, that you could say about all I’ve done in my life to this point is baby-sit my retard brother, buy cigarettes for my mother, and sack groceries for the esteemed citizens of Endora.I can't believe I'm actually going to say this, but I liked the movie better than the book. What's that sound? Oh, nothing. Just getting my library card revoked. Anyhoo… this is a good book. And I did enjoy reading it. It contains all of my favorite things. A small town. A dysfunctional family. A relatable character who is struggling with the responsibilities of caring for his problematic family. I like books with depth. I like reading about regular people with real problems. I love good old-fashioned granny/grandpappy names, like Becky, Gilbert, Arnie. I am sick of reading about good-looking rich hipster characters with names like Rule, Shaw, Sparrow, Asher, Sharkeisha, etc. I really appreciate the realness of this story. Not everything can be fixed. Not everyone has a dream job. You can't magically make your sibling's autism go away. You can't clap your heels three times and be transported out of your shitty little town to someplace nice. What bothered me a little more than it should have was the age difference. Becky is 15 and Gilbert is 24. That's kind of… illegal. But whatever. That's a whole other can of worms.The final verdict? It's worth the read.It’s nights like these that I have to get out of my house. I drive around town and dream about going places. I dream about the kind of families I watched on TV as a kid. I dream about pretty people and fast cars, and I dream I’m still me but my family is someone else. I dream I’m still me. My What's Eating Gilbert Grape playlist:Zach Berkman – Down to the SecondBastille – Of The NightThriving Ivory – Angels on the MoonThe Killers – Goodnight Travel WellJaymes Young – I'll Be GoodImagine Dragons – Whatever It TakesLinkin Park – One More LightKaleo – Way Down We GoFleurie – HurricaneThe National – I Need My GirlLorde – Perfect PlacesBen Howard – Black FliesKodaline – BrotherLord Huron – The Night We MetThe Get Up Kids – Like A Man PossessedTamer – Beautiful CrimeOasis – Supersonic

  • Brina
    2019-07-17 11:05

    What's Eating Gilbert Grape originally came out when I was in high school. As per my mother's rule, one had to read the book before viewing the movie so I read the story of the Grape family before venturing to watch the film starring Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio. Peter Hedges created many memorable characters in small town Endora, Iowa, also known derogatorily by Gilbert as Endora of the line. A touching story about a dysfunctional family wasting away as their mother Bonnie eats herself into oblivion, I rooted for Gilbert to get out of town the entire time. It has been twenty years since I read this charming novel, but Gilbert, Arnie, and Bonnie have stayed with me, and I recommend Peter Hedges' work to any looking for a book about small town America.

  • Eve
    2019-06-30 05:13

    “You can tell the idyllic nature of a family by the upkeep of its picnic table. Ours is its own indictment. We are splintering and peeling. We rot.” – Gilbert GrapeBefore Jonathan Safran Foer was the talk of literary circles for writing Everything is Illuminated at such a young age, there was Peter Hedges. What's Eating Gilbert Grape is his profound post-coming-of-age novel about twenty-four year old Gilbert Grape, a grocery store stock boy living in the tiny town of Endora, Iowa. Grappling with the desire to leave town and start an exciting life elsewhere, and the guilt and responsibility to stay and care for his family, he is unprepared when a beautiful young girl from the big city comes to town, and unexpectedly helps him come to terms with his feelings about his family and their past.Considering how old Hedges was when he wrote this, it too was equally profound. Being a fan of the movie though, the book was definitely more gratifying. Gilbert is a complex young man, and several times I found myself thinking about how Johnny Depp was the perfect actor for this character. I was also struck by the loving relationship Gilbert has with his disabled brother, Arnie, probably one of the most astute characters in the book. I am so glad I found this book (for one dollar, no less). It seemed to be the perfect time to read it and reflect on the different crossroads we come to at various stages in our life, and the thoughts that pervade our mind in an attempt to ensure that we're making the best decision possible.

  • Caroline
    2019-07-16 07:03

    ***NO SPOILERS***What’s eating Gilbert Grape? In short, a lot:-His general ennui and restlessness in tiny, dead-end Endora, Iowa-His morbidly obese mother-His mentally handicapped brother-His romantic relationshipThis is not all. Further topics Peter Hedges wrote about are as follows:-Economic depression-Adultery-Sudden death-Family shame-SuicideIt’s too much, and it’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’s biggest flaw. Nevertheless, Hedges didn’t explore these to an equal degree. Endora is just wallpaper. The adultery is randomly tossed in, as is a sudden death and Gilbert’s romance. The economic depression is disappointingly undeveloped. Hedges wanted to stuff it all into one book, but he couldn’t; this would have been 1,000 pages long. Hedges’s most promising storylines involve Gilbert’s obese mother, Bonnie and mentally handicapped brother, Arnie. I was therefore most disappointed that he didn’t develop these characters, especially Bonnie, as well as he could. She’s reduced to a sleeping, eating, demanding lump, a passive figure who I learned about more via narration from Gilbert rather than via direct characterization. There’s only brief backstory, but what’s clear is that there’s a lot eating her, and that has a great deal of relevance to what’s eating Gilbert. Gilbert resents what a burden she is, but that’s only ever apparent because of his references to her as a “whale” or “walrus.” The story demands she be more developed. Along the same lines, Arnie comes across as little more than a mischievous sprite who enjoys climbing Endora’s water tower and is always in need of a good scrubbing. Mentally handicapped characters beg for multi-dimensional depictions. The story demands more…everything about him. Of everyone in the Grape family, Bonnie and Arnie are the most intriguing, but what’s most important is they’re the ones trapping Gilbert in Endora. At one point, Hedges did provide a glimpse into what could have been, and the story turns brilliant--it goes to that exact deeper, sobering place it needs to go--but just as quickly he reverted to the superficial: having Gilbert simply complain about his mom and to the usual goofy portrayal of Arnie. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape could have been really something if it had Gilbert and Bonnie just as they are, but with a honed mother-and-son focus or if it had Gilbert and Arnie just as they are, but with the honed focus on him and his brother. It would be more ambitious, but it could have all three, fully developed, and be magnificent. I’m reminded of Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout. It’s a mother-daughter tale, so on the surface it appears simplistic, but its tight focus is what makes it successful. There are no irrelevant details or side plots that detract from the main storyline. As a result, Amy and Isabelle is complete and satisfying. Hedges may have failed with Arnie and Bonnie, but some of his other characters are stronger and have their place. These are Gilbert’s older sister Amy as the caretaker and provider, his vain teenage sister Ellen, his always-cheerful boss, and his best friend. They make the book worth reading. The romantic interest, Becky, however, does not. His relationship with Becky is one of the things eating Gilbert, yet it’s not for the reason it should be: the fact that he’s a 24-year-old man fantasizing about and romancing a 15-year-old girl. Becky is a sage who speaks so maturely that I thought she was an adult before Hedges revealed that she’s just a teen. This may have been purposeful on Hedges’s part, to distract from the dark reality. If Becky sounded like a typical teenager, the perversion would be easier to embrace right off the bat. Since Hedges didn’t make this side plot about Gilbert’s grappling with his conscience, Hedges could have made Becky Gilbert’s age without hurting anything in this section. Her many wise statements--which sound ridiculous coming from a 15-year-old--would also then befit her age. I did really enjoy this book for most of the characters. I was invested in learning about these small-town residents and about Endora. I didn’t get the latter wish, but I got enough of the former to keep me reading. Most of all, I was curious about what was eating Gilbert Grape--but I’m still not sure about this. Too much in this story is scattered, some is a rough sketch, and some is entirely irrelevant. As a result, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is more of a light read, and that’s a shame, because I doubt that’s what Peter Hedges intended.

  • Kandice
    2019-07-05 05:17

    Gilbert Grape lives at home with two of his three sisters, Amy and Ellen, and one of his two brothers, Arnie. Arnie is mentally handicapped and depends on Gilbert for a lot. So do his sisters, but Arnie's dependence is draining. Then there's Gilbert's momma. She also lives with them and is poifectly huge. Like hundreds of pounds worth of huge. She was once the prettiest girl in Endora where all the Grape family home is located, but not. The whole Grape clan is just counting the days to Arnie's 18th birthday. The birthday the doctors said he would never see. Poor Gilbert works so hard to keep his family afloat. He's 24 and simply cannot live his own life. His family needs him, his mental support and, yes, his paycheck, to survive. Gilbert's dad, Mr. Grape, has been dead for 17 years and with his older brother gone everything falls on Gilbert's shoulders. There's never any time for Gilbert. A few stolen moments here or there, but even they are tinged in guilt and regret.This book was lovely. Not because it was sweet, or because I loved Gilbert, he could be quite the shit, but I defy anyone to live under the circumstances and burdens Gilbert endured every day and not be one at least occasionally. It was lovely because it was realistic. There are no Mother Theresa's among us today. There are just people doing what they can to get by. Doing what has to be done to get their family and loved ones one day closer to happiness. Yes, Gilbert lost patience with Arnie and his sisters on occasion, but he still stayed and cared for his family in the best way he knew how. In a very sad, but real way.The Grape clan was a bunch of characters to say the least and Gilbert's friends and fellow citizens were every bit as quirky, but anyone who has ever lived in a small town knows this is the way people really are. It's the normal people who get out. It's the regular people who leave town to find their dreams and futures. It's as if the real characters are a little larger than the Regular Joes so are caught in the sieve of small town life. Too big to fall through the screen, but small enough to feel the pinch.This book touches on the loss of small town life with the Mom n Pop establishments. The encroachment of Wal-Marts and Krogers on sweet ol' Main Street USA. It shows us that not only the old codgers mourn the loss, but some of the younger generation as well. Gilbert's romance with the new to town Becky is just one more example of the uniqueness of small town folk. Becky belonged in Endora in the same way Gilbert belongs and for some of the same reasons that Gilbert's older siblings who have left town do not. Small town life takes a certain fortitude and strength. Gilbert has it. Becky may as well. The Grape kids who have left do not.

  • Matt
    2019-07-17 07:11

    From a passage in the book where Momma is talking to Gilbert about motherhood/creastion: "I see you and I know that I'm a god. Or a goddess. Godlike! And this house is my kingdom. Yes, Gilbert. This chair is my throne. And you, Gilbert, are my knight in shimmering armor."..."Shining, I think, Momma, is what you mean."..."No, I know what I mean. You don't shine, Gilbert. You shimmer. You hear?. You shimmer!"My dictionary defines shimmer as a verb and as a noun: to shine with or reflect a soft, tremulous light; a soft tremulous light. This novel shimmers with that soft, tremulous light. It is a subtle story, written in a subtle style. One is surprised to find what appear to be nondescript sentences that are actually keys to the book, great with meaning. The above discussion of "shimmer" is such an example. As is this, possibly my favorite sentence in the book, marking the moment of Gilbert's, for lack of a better word, awakening: "And as the remaining dirt on Arnie starts washing away, it begins." I have wanted to read this book for years. And now I have. And it was worth the wait.

  • Erica
    2019-06-24 08:59

    You know what makes me hang my head in shame?The fact that I didn't know this book was a book until earlier this year.I am not even kidding. Yes, I am a librarian and have been for a really long time and still, I had no idea this was a book.So much shame for me.My ridiculous excuse that I just now made up to make myself feel better about my prior ignorance: This came out in 1991 and I had been in college for a year and was getting the hang of things and really buckling down to study and such. I didn't read for pleasure anymore and I think all fiction that came out between 1990-1995 that didn't go through the library was missed by me. That's my excuse.Anyway, I now know this is a book and I have read it.It makes the movie make a lot more sense. I liked the movie quite well (I did see that when it came out; I also just watched it the other night for the sake of comparison and if it said "Based on the book by Peter Hedges" in the beginning, I missed it both the first time and when I watched it again on Friday) but I like the book a lot better. It's much more nuanced, the relationships between everyone are deeper, more real, more painful. I could relate with Book Gilbert far better than I could with Movie Gilbert and now I don't think Juliette Lewis was such a good choice.But whatever.This was a solid story and the ending is much more powerful in text, at least it was for me.

  • Madeline
    2019-07-16 07:05

    One of the few books where I enjoyed the movie version more. Here are some unsettling things about the book version that got left out of the movie:-Gilbert is kind of an asshole, especially the way he constantly refers to his brother as "the retard." Not even Johnny Depp could have made that a likeable trait.-Becky, Gilbert's love interest, is fourteen. He is in his mid-twenties. They do not sleep together, but they definitely want to, and it is creepy. -Glbert's younger sister goes on a date with the owner of the funeral home. She is fifteen, and they are discovered together in the back of the funeral car. Ew. If you liked the movie, you might find this book interesting, but I wholeheartedly prefer the movie.

  • Laura
    2019-07-16 06:58

    From IMDb:Gilbert has to care for his brother Arnie and his obese mother, which gets in the way when love walks into his life.

  • Karolina Kat
    2019-06-26 05:05

    You don’t shine, Gilbert. You shimmer. You hear? You shimmer!Like many before me, for a long time I had no idea that there was a book upon which one of the most important movies of my adolescent years was based. The story of the Grape family in the novel is more realistic, while all the characters are simply more human. There aren't that many good people in the little town of Endora, and Gilbert falls rightin between the white and the black.[...]there’s nothing worse than being told you’re good when you know you’re bad.Gilbert from the novel is more overwhelmed with life, his perception of people surrounding him sharper, and having him as the narrator/focalizer makes for a very drastic point of view. Surprisingly it is the book, not movie, that brings the flesh and bone to Gilbert's struggles and to people around him, who do not serve as background characters but simply feel as other real people living in Endora.Arnie's illness is far less pretty, Amy's struggles are far harder, and his mother is more disturbed than in the movie. And there is far more that's eating Gilbert Grape.

  • Sarah
    2019-07-10 10:05

    I felt honored to be allowed inside Gilbert's head, because he always says the opposite of what he's thinking, and doesn't let anybody inside his head. His distance from everyone let's him look at them in a light untouched by positive regard or optimism. He shares with the reader the brutal truth of what he's thinking, which is often guiltily hysterical.Even still, you know there's a heart somewhere in there by the way he looks after Arnie. It was one of the sweetest relationships I've ever seen, although he treated everybody else kind of like crap.There's no use trying to escape your life, it won't make any of it better.Loving people is the best thing you can do for yourself.

  • Vanessa
    2019-07-03 04:07

    I have this friend who has a rule (although he will deny that it's a rule) that he won't see movies if he has read the book-and vice versa-because it's a waste of time when there are so many movies to be seen and books to be read. And sometimes that is true but I am pretty much the opposite. If I liked the book, I'm curious to see how they adapt it for the screen. If I liked the movie or at least found it interesting, I want to go back to read the book to fill in the inevitable blanks. House of Sand and Fog, for example, was a great adaptation of the book but ended when there was still half the book to go. Ditto for Cavedweller.Then you've got a book like this, which takes the same characters (Gilbert Grape and his dysfunctional family remnants) and setting (a dying small town in rural Iowa) but has a totally different mood from the film. Which is interesting since Hedges wrote both the book and the screenplay. As cliche as it is to drag out Salinger's ghost, Gilbert Grape, age 24, has a distinct Holden Caulfield-ish aura about him. Call him "Catcher in the Soybeans." He works stocking shelves at a local grocery that is barely surviving since a chain store opened nearby. He and his older sister care for their teenage sister, his mentally challenged brother and their mother who has pretty much been eating her grief since their father hung himself almost 20 years ago in their basement. She has become so large that she is virtually immobile, hasn't left the house in years and the floor beneath her chair is now starting to cave in. It sounds unbearably maudlin perhaps at this point. Thanks to the misanthropic yet likable narrator, it's not. I don't know how to describe this book. Parts were sad, parts were very funny. I didn't totally click with it for some reason. Perhaps it's because I'm a heathen who never totally appreciated Salinger? But I can understand how other people can love it. The movie, on the other hand, is one of my all-time favorites.

  • Addie
    2019-07-10 06:13

    One of my very favorite books. I'd seen (and loved) the movie version before picking up this book, but it was the style of writing that made it jump out to me and establish itself as separate. Gilbert's inner monologue? Brilliant and hilarious, I could go on and on. It felt so REAL to me. Mr. Hedges is very talented. Through the prose I was enveloped in the sleepy town vibe so completely that I felt as if Endora were my own hometown, familiar in every way. I continue to recommend this book to anyone searching for a good read, and no one has been disappointed so far.

  • Mad Dog
    2019-07-18 06:19

    This book is not really informative, deep, or insightful. I am talking about the first person narrator (Gilbert) as well as the book. Gilbert is thoroughly mediocre in thought and deed. He wears a 'perma-frown'. He likes to brood. The book relies on his thoughts more than his actions, as he is very passive(repressed). Most of the supporting characters are annoyingly shallow. None of this really sounds like a good book to me.But this book (and Gilbert) did very much captivate me. I am rooting hard for Gilbert, a guy that I would probably dislike in 'real life'. What propels me through this book is affection and hope. Gilbert is affecting because he simply recognizes what is good and true. He is sensitve to what is good and true. Gilbert is affecting because he is sad and I want him to be happy. I want him to be able to 'live out' what is 'good and true'. But he is not graceful when confronted with the foolishness of others. And he doesn't say enough (or do enough) when confronted with the 'good and true' that he desires. He broods about events in the past and 'things' that are out of his control. So there are multiple obstacles. This is the suspense of the book.Go Gilbert!! One brain teaser for me (about this book) is this: What would this book be like if Gilbert is not handsome? Gilbert has a certain aura that draws people to him. The community (in this book) seems to have a rooting interest in Gilbert. This probably would be removed if Gilbert is not handsome, and the book would be much different.

  • Asghar Abbas
    2019-06-30 09:20

    Thought I was different and it seems I'm just the sameAs a game I put my hand over the flameI thought, I was smarter as I flew into the sunBut it turned out the way it does with everyoneOh, oh, I don't fly around your fire anymoreI don't fly around your fire anymoreBurned and fallen down so many times beforeI don't fly around your fire anymoreI love the heat, I love the things that I forgotI love the strings that tie me down and cut me offI was a king, I was a moth with painted wings made of clothWhen did the flame burn so high and get so hot?Oh, oh, I don't fly around your fire anymoreI don't fly around your fire anymoreBurned and fallen down so many times beforeI don't fly around, fly aroundFly aroundI don't fly around your fire anymoreI don't fly around your fire anymoreBurned and fallen down so many times beforeI don't fly around, fly aroundI don't fly around your fire anymoreI don't fly around your fire anymoreBurned and fallen down so many times beforeI don't fly around, fly aroundOh, fly around, oh-------------------------This is a Song from Audioslave by Chris Cornell. This is how much I love this book, its movie, and Johnny Depp.

  • Jaime Navarro
    2019-07-07 10:19

    I loved this book! The story is simple but engaging and the character of Gilbert Grape is one of the most well constructed male characters I’ve read in a long time. I enjoyed it so much because it’s not quite a coming of age story; Gilbert is older and feels the adult pressures of being a grown up but he’s still young enough that his life has not passed him by, even though he thinks it has, and all these other characters in the book are trying to show him this.Coming from a “unique” family myself, this story endures itself to me as much for the good of it’s characters but also their flaws. My only regret is that I wish I had read this book sooner! Excellent writing, excellent characters and an amazing story…what else can you ask for in a book?

  • Alexis
    2019-07-10 11:05

    This was my favourite book when I was a teenager. I loved it when I was in high school, had parts of it memorized and read it multiple times. I was nervous and scared to read it. But you know what, I LOVED it. It's extremely well written and the voice is strong. It is funny and sad and influential. It has shaped the way I write . I still love this book. I noticed that the author has a contact form on his website. I intend to write him a note.

  • Andrew
    2019-07-06 07:17

    Saw the movie back in college, and instantly recognised a classic. I had no idea it was a book, because it's not the type of literature I pay much attention to: it would normally be considered too realistic for my usual taste, plus it is too modern for my taste in classic 'realistic' literature (I tend to stop in the 1960s). However, knowing the story through film I was curious about the original narrative in this format, and for a discount on Kindle I had nothing to lose. As good as the film genuinely is, the book proves the rule that one should always read first, watch later, whenever possible. The book adds so much, and causes me to think of the story and characters in ways the movie could not.

  • DJ
    2019-06-27 12:10

    This is a tough one for me to rate. I mean, I read it forever and a day ago, but forgot some of the parts. Have seen the movie a million and a half times, and still adore it to this day. But for me, the book felt like it was missing some pieces. Not that it has to do with that "show-not-tell" stuff everyone is cramming down everyone's throats in books these days. I like a skimmed down, show the important things to the main character, get to the story way this book is told. It doesn't play around and take a hundred words to make a point.The book does, however, use the word "retard" a lot. A LOT!!! Of course, it was written before PC became the norm. And you forget how things used to be until you read the older books. But this wasn't also what took off some stars for me.I think it was because in the book, Gilbert and Becky weren't the same from what I LOVE about the movie. She's lackadaisical and he's uptight and stressed. Here, Becky was more annoying little girl than chase the world. Gilbert was ultra stressed out, but sometimes, I thought he was going to be POSTAL over some of the instances. Reading him stressed me out.Another thing was the additional siblings of the Grape family. I didn't like Larry, nor could I see him belonging. (And maybe that's how he's supposed to be.) Then Janice...WTH? I didn't like her either. Again, she didn't belong, and I'm not sure how intentional it was to have her feel that way.The story is still good. My favorite parts of the movie were in here...But the largest killer of the story was the ending. Nothing like the book. Nothing to make me feel Gilbert is finally living his OWN LIFE whether he would stay in Endora or leave. I just wanted that somewhat happy resolution for this tortured character who NEVER SEEMED to get a win. I've got to find that movie and watch it, fix where the book fell flat for me.*RANDOM READ - because you can't read a paper book in the dark. Thank Heavens for Kindle!*

  • Marialyce
    2019-07-14 12:00

    Another title for this book could have been "Dysfunctional Family Personified." While I did enjoy the read, I felt that the subject matter has been done often and frankly a lot better. We follow Gilbert and his family of siblings and a grossly overweight mother through their sufferings and eventually experience their love realizations of each other. Sorrow and pity abound for this family as we witness the destruction of this unit which seemed to be kicked off by the suicide of the father. The siblings are very cognizant of their situation while Gilbert seems to be the most effected by the desperation of being "the man" in the family. Saddled with a "retard" (his words not mine) for his younger brother, he tries to reconcile his existence and place the family in a somewhat order.( or was it disorder?)It seems what Mr Hedges is trying to say is that no matter how bad your family may be, they still love you so that makes all well, doesn't it? I suppose for the time in which it was written, that this book was intended to shake up readers to the realization that a) don't think your family is the worst, and b) someone always has things worse than you do. We were suppose to feel sorry for Gilbert and all of the others. I felt the author seemed more engaged in trying to shock the reader than present a sympathetic view of this group of misfits. I read this book quickly and though the topic was serious and sad. Sorry to say that I just could not give a topic such as this one read, the deep I thought that it deserved.

  • Mel Bossa
    2019-07-10 07:01

    I really enjoyed this book. There is a sensibility to Hedges' writing I found endearing and addictive. Yes, the dialogue is sometimes a little forced and some of the characters are a tad too eccentric to come off real, but Gilbert Grape's voice makes up for all of that.This is a great novel I'm glad I finally read.I almost feel like I lived in Endora for the last two days. For anyone who's grown up in a small town, this tale will resonate with you. Gilbert's resistance to Food Land and Burger Barns, is noble but futile.Peter Hedges does such a wonderful job at capturing the hate we can have for our family, while loving them with a vengeance. There is something about this story that really spoke to me. I can't quite put my finger on it. And maybe that's the magic of it. This sort of feeling like you know all these people: Larry the brother who won't deal but will succeed. Janice the sister who could have been great, but turned into an underachiever, Ellen, the sister who was given the looks, but little self-esteem, Arnie, the baby, the challenged, the one who knows that the emperor has no clothes. And finally, Gilbert, the family member who seems to know the truth about everybody else, yet, won't see his own.We know these people. We are these people. I think this was Hedges first novel and I think he loved these characters fiercely, and it comes through, right down to the last luminous and necessary word.

  • Brian
    2019-07-06 03:59

    What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? from the perspective of someone who grew up in Iowa -- that field-of-dreams, first-to-the-primaries, nothing-but-corn-and-more-corn mythical paradise that purports to be the heartbeat of the United States -- is a romance. Romance, not in sense of 24 year old Gilbert being torn between an affair with a married woman old enough to be his mum and a femme fatal 15 year old from Michigan, but in the sense of Don Quixote in quest of the Holy Grail, of Holden Caulfield searching for honesty. Gilbert is looking for a path around his family in a state where family is a synonym for the deity. He is searching for a way to hang onto a past that has already become the future. He is an angry young man, as likeable as most mythical Iowans are raised to become. Hedges wastes little breath dancing around the loveliness of small town folk and Midwest sunsets. Nor does he elevate Gilbert’s quest to the level of Indiana Jones in terms of pace or action. Grape is sometimes amusing, sometimes poignant, but right to the highly choreographed conclusion, it is an adventure. Without the pretence of a suit of armour, Gilbert tackles one everyday dragon after another until he finally confronts himself in the mirror.

  • Lesley
    2019-06-29 06:08

    This is by far one of my favorite books! Before reading this novel, I had previously read Hedges's other novel, An Ocean in Iowa. Both are fantastic! Those of you avoiding the novel because you've seen the movie are making a mistake. Gilbert is an amazing character who struggles to understand his role in the world. His musings are both funny and introspective and make you think of a time when you felt the same ennui with life. I've followed Hedges's career since, and though he doesn't write novels anymore, his film career has filled the void. He still manages to display the same tenderness, and heartbreaking solitude within each of his characters. I highly recommend this read!!

  • J.T. Holden
    2019-06-21 12:25

    Hedges' masterful first novel should be studied and studied (and studied again) by anyone thinking of writing a book in the first-person/present-tense because it is a style that only lends itself properly to a particular voice, rhythm, and cadence. It should never be approached in the same manner as a novel written in the more common first-person/past-tense. That said, What's Eating Gilbert Grape is nothing short of a modern classic. I've read it over 30 times (on one particular occasion, I immediately turned to the first page after finishing the last and started reading again), and I know with complete certainty that I will read it many more times before my time is done.

  • Talia
    2019-07-02 09:01

    I'm really upset that this book isn't appropriate for me to read with my 8th graders. I was really looking forward to giving them something full of feeling, something real, something with the kind of problems that actually exist, and of course, showing them a Johnny Depp movie. But there is too much for me to overlook, at least for the 8th grade. I really liked many themes in common with The Catcher in the Rye...just a different generation, a different family, a different landscape.

  • J.K. Grice
    2019-07-18 09:07

    A wonderful, quirky book from Hedges. I like the film version very much as well.

  • Brenda
    2019-06-24 05:06

    Story of a young twenty-something man dealing with the uncomfortable reality that is his family. Disappointing, overall. I was hoping for something with more depth. In the hands of a more skilled writer, this could have been a profound examination of family and loss, the Midwest-flavored ennui of a stalled life hampered by the obligations one has to their family. The dialogue was not written well and some of the exchanges, particularly between Gilbert and his 16 year old sister, Ellen, were terrible and unrealistic. The mother was written as a god-awful stereotype and left me yearning for a more nuanced and, at least, semi-decent depiction of a human being eating herself to death because of fury and grief. What a missed opportunity.

  • Anna (Curiosity comes before Kay)
    2019-07-18 06:04

    Loved it (and not because any of those bastards were that loveable either). Full review to come.FULL REVIEWI did not even know this was a book until I ran across it by chance on Goodreads, on some list or another. If you don't like personal reviews, abandon ship now because this shit's about to get real up-close-and-personal -- because this book was super-personal and self-revelatory for me as a human being. That doesn't mean I will necessarily be gushing about it to everyone who asks for book recommendations, because I think this is a book that not everyone will understand. Thank you Peter Hedges, you freaking bastard, for that unwanted look in the mirror. I have a confession to make: I am Gilbert Grape. We might not have the same name, live in exactly the same circumstances, or feel exactly the same about everything, but we are the same person where it counts the most. We are the one who stays, the one who takes care of everyone else. Gilbert Grape is someone who has gotten sucked into being the breadwinner and pretty much SOLE provider for his family, whom he both loves and hates at the same time. He lives with his mother Bonnie Grape who is so obsese that the floor is caving in under her, his sister Amy who is selfless and good (and who deserves better than wasting her youth being mother to her siblings), his younger sister Ellen who is a pretentious brat (verging on slut at times) and his brother Arnie, who is mentally handicapped, never seeming older than five or six years old mentally. Gilbert works at the local grocery store, that is slowly going under due to the new superstore in town. He's worked for the owner Mr. Lamson for seven years, and believes in loyalty to the man (and the business) who has been a father figure/oasis for him in the midst of his family issues. Also, Gilbert has been in a sexual affair with Betty Carver, the insurance man's wife, for about the same amount of time. He feels trapped in by his family, his dumb-ass friend Tucker, his job, and Endora in general. When he asks his lover Betty why she chose him, she hits the nail on the head with a remark about how she knew he'd never leave his family or the town - and it stings Gilbert (goddamn, it even stung me just reading it). Things are building up and feelings are coming to head, as Arnie's thought-to-be-impossible eighteenth birthday draws nearer and the rest of the Grape siblings make their way home. The Girl from Michigan also shakes things up for Gilbert, making him think of his life in new ways, even if they're not always pleasant or easy. Can the Grapes begin to let go of past hurts and move on, or will they continue to stagnate, with Gilbert "shrinking," as Arnie puts it? This was uncomfortable to the max. I saw myself at the age I am now (24) working a dead end retail job, supporting my family because no one else can/will. I am also not perfect. In the moments Gilbert calls his brother a "retard" I see myself with my mentally ill mother, and I'm ashamed. Not to say that I'm a monster, but I lose my temper too. I am "shrinking," letting things go unsaid and being everything for everyone. I also see myself in Momma & Amy, eating all of my feelings and multiplying in size. But this novel is also hopeful, because as the ending tells us, nothing lasts forever. Things, people and hardships cycle in and out of life. A beautifully harsh portrait of the American Dream dying in the Midwest, only to be partially re-invented by the time the book ends. A story that'll stay with me, but I don't see myself revisiting it often. Highly recommended if you're brave and daring.VERDICT: 4/5 Stars*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.*Favorite Quotes"I'm told women scream when they give birth because of the intense pain. And I think about how easily life can slide away, like thawing ice. And how it's only the living that scream.""You can tell the idyllic nature of a family by the upkeep of its picnic table. Ours is its own indictment. We are splintering and peeling. We rot."

  • Joan
    2019-06-22 03:58

    This is the first published novel by a man who went on to have a successful film-writing career. In many ways this book is more like a film proposal than it is a novel. The characters and plot seem to need collaboration with actors and directors; without input from these artists it all seems flat, undeveloped.The story was developed into a very successful film - if you are tempted to read the book, I suggest you skip the book and watch the movie.(Note: I have not seen the movie and after reading the book I do not plan to see it.)

  • Meghan
    2019-07-18 08:21

    I read this book when I was thirteen or fourteen because it was reviewed in Sassy magazine. It was during a time when my town's library was being remodeled and I put it on hold and it came in the mail - we were going to Seattle for the weekend to visit my grandma, and on the way to the ferry my parents pulled over to check the mail and it was there. I remember opening the package and starting the book and being so pulled in. I would guess I've read it ten times, although this is the first time I've picked it up in at least a decade or more. Anyway this book is so much inside me that it's hard to review. I know the words, the rhythm, I probably think "The moon, Gilbert, look at the moon!" at least once a week or so, because I've always found it annoying - OG Manic Pixie Dream Girl there. I think of poor Amy learning Elvis died, as the family switches from one radio station to another and she insists it might be a coincidence that they're all playing Elvis songs. Amy is really the hero of this story, which I never realized. Because I was thirteen when I read this for the first time, it never struck me that a relationship between a 24-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl was inappropriate. I never quite saw Gilbert's stuck view of the world as depression or as untrue.