Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: What's Eating Gilbert Grape, by Peter Hedges

What's Eating Gilbert Grape, by Peter Hedges
Warning: What's Eating Gilbert Grape is on my favorites list. My review may be considered slightly skewed by my love for this book. Consider yourself warned.

I read What's Eating Gilbert Grape, by Peter Hedges, when I was fifteen years old and the movie had recently been released. Because I'm just that kind of person, I wanted to read the book first and then see what the movie was like. Being a huge fan of both Johnny Depp and Leonardo Dicaprio, I knew that I had to see the movie (and would ultimately be disappointed by it) so the book simply had to come first.

I loved this book right from the outset. During the period of my life when I first read What's Eating Gilbert Grape I was in love with first person narrative, and Gilbert is an excellent narrator! He has a unique perspective on life and on his off-the-wall family, from his morbidly obese mother (who is caving the floor in), to portly Amy and sixteen year-old boy-crazy Ellen: and of course, who can forget retarded Arnie, who is eighteen but wasn't supposed to live past ten?

"I just wanna see my boy turn eighteen. Is that too much to ask?" Gilbert's mother repeats these words like a mantra, driving Gilbert to distraction. All he wants is to get out of his small Iowa town and move up in the world, but he stays at home, helping to hold the last parts of his family together.

This is a book about families and relationships, about the importance of loving one another and of holding onto the things that really matter. It's a realistic look at small-town life. What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a very touching and enduring book. Of all the books I've ever read, none has stayed with me the way that Peter Hedge's debut novel has.

I believe that you will love this book.

You can get your copy of What's Eating Gilbert Grape on Amazon.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape: 5 Star Reviewed and Rated


  1. Sounds like an interesting book. i might pick this one up...

    Also thanks for stopping by my blog :)

  2. It's a very unique book, and more than a little bit sad. I read it at fifteen and missed a lot of the innuendos though! lol