What's Eating Gilbert Grape Author:Peter Hedges 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 ... more »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.... With this wry portrait of small-town Iowa -- and a young man's life at the crossroads -- Peter Hedges created a classic American novel "charged with sardonic intelligence" (Washington Post Book World).« less
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Gilbert is such a personable protagonist... he looks at everyone in his world with as much acceptance as he can. The story is told with a lot of humor (not all of it transferred to the big screen), charm, and thoughtfulness.
The movie was good but as usual, it did not touch the sheer genius of the novel on which it was based. Peter Hedges knows just how to portray small town life in its tragicomic abundance. The story is completely honest. Nothing is held back. It's part love story, part life story, and really delves deep into the emptiness of Gilbert trying to find himself in the small void known as Endora, Iowa. Gilbert Grape lives with his morbidly obese mother, retarded brother, and his two sisters: one a spinster, the other an obnoxious prepubescent teen. He works as a bagger at a local market and is having an affair with a woman twice his age. The entire story is based around the upcoming 18th birthday of his "retarded" brother that no one thought would live past the age of 10. With these characters and then some, Peter Hedges has created the most tantalizing story about small town American life and how it can be survived...Highly and strongly recommended!
Such a great book! One of my favorates by far! You can really relate to Gilbert, and you feel like you're really part of his family. The movie was great, but after reading the book, the movie is just not descriptive enough. I highly reccomend this book!