Megan Anderson's Reviews > What's Eating Gilbert Grape

What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges
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's review
Jul 14, 2012

it was ok

This book was an impulse thrift purchase. I remember loving the movie when I was younger (how can you go wrong with a pre-weird Johnny Depp and a young Leonardo DiCaprio?), so I thought I’d check out the book. The book is always better. (Unless it’s adapted from the movie like the Omen. Or made into a wicked awesome TV series like Dexter.)

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a great anti-hero book. Gilbert is stuck. Stuck in his small town and stuck in a family full of disfunction: he has a father who committed suicide, a mother so morbidly obese that she can’t walk, an older sister obsessed with Elvis, a younger brother with metal retardation, and a younger sister who’s just hit puberty.

But even with all of those crazy things going on (and more), the book felt really slow moving. I suppose that could be on purpose, as it emphasizes Gilbert’s small life. Or it have just felt that way because I knew the climax from the movie already.

On the positive side, I thought that the first person view was very realistic–I loved reading Gilbert’s inner conflict between his obligation towards his family and his resentment.

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