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What's Eating Gilbert Grape
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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > February 2017 - Whats Eating Gilbert Grape

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message 1: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 18091 comments One of the group reads for February is What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges. Please discuss the book in this thread.

The discussion leader is Joan.

In order to receive a badge you must:
1. have completed the book before or during February 2017.
2. discussed it in this thread. Discussion must be more than "I read the book and I liked it". Discussion requires something more substantial and analytical of what you read, for example, thoughts, opinions, impact it had on you, what was your favourite part, was it what you expected it to be like etc. You may also like to review the book and post a link to the review in this thread.
3. Report that you have read AND discussed the book in the reporting thread (include a brief summary of what you thought of the book).

General Rules:
1. Please mark your spoilers with the spoiler tags along with mentioning what stage of the book you are at so other's don't get a nasty shock. Chapter numbers/titles are generally best as they are the same across all formats and editions.
2. The book may be combined with the Year Long Challenge, Topplers, and Monthly Challenges.

Happy reading!


message 2: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 12697 comments I'm so glad that you nominated this, Joan! I was seriously considering it, but I only have a Kindle version and there is no audio version available. I wasn't sure I'd be able to read it at the beginning of the month, so it would have been difficult to lead the discussion. I am looking forward to reading it though and it fits my ME challenge too. (I said my favorite fruit at the moment is grapes.) I'll read it a bit later in the month and join the discussion.


Sandra (sanlema) | 9073 comments My library got if for me in iLL, so I will have it in a few days. I am not sure when I can start it. I have to finish my book club book first, before out meeting!

Sounds really good.


message 4: by Joan (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan Thank you Sarah for setting up the thread.

Welcome all to the GilbertGrape discussion.

Have you seen the movie?


message 5: by Peggy, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14538 comments I might read this too. I have it on my ereader but I'm also reading something else for this month's theme and this one doesn't fit my year long challenge, so I'm not sure if I have time.

I've seen the movie a couple of times, but the last time was many years ago. I actually think I may still have the dvd somewhere..


message 6: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 12697 comments I have seen a few bits of the movie, but not the whole thing. I'll probably watch it after reading the book.


Sandra (sanlema) | 9073 comments I didn't watch the movie.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments I just got an email notice that my library request is available for pick up, so I will have it in my hands tonight, to start reading.

I have seen the movie, but it was on TV, years ago. I don't think I was a Jonny Depp fan at the time. I was surprised to see that it is 24 years old now.

My library only had one print copy of the book, but they have several copies of the movie. No ebook copy available from Overdrive or 3M. Barnes & Noble want $8.99 for their ebook version. I did not check Kindle.


message 9: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 12697 comments Cherie - The Kindle edition on Amazon is $1.99.


Tammy Burger (tammyburger) | 449 comments One of my favorite movies, but I've never read the book. I'm hoping it will be just as good or better than the movie.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments I picked up my book at the library and have read Chapters 1-3. What a cast of characters! I'm depressed already, but it may be only because I don't feel well. (I have a terrible head cold). (view spoiler)


message 12: by Joan (last edited Feb 08, 2017 12:20PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan I hadn't realized Chap 2 (view spoiler)


message 13: by Joan (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan In its review, Publishers Weekly said this book has "clever literary symbols"; please let us know if you notice any.


I just noticed that Publishers Weekly has no apostrophe- huh.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments You made me laugh out loud, Joan!
I'm not sure I'd recognize a "clever literary symbol" unless it jumped out and bit me.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments I thought they were younger too.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments I wish I had not seen the movie. Actually, I do not remember much, except the end. I hate that looming over the whole story.

I reread Chapter 2 again. I cannot read your spoiler but I wanted to make sure I got all you might say, Joan.

I am up to Chapter 9 now.
@ Ch 3 (view spoiler)
@ Ch 4 (view spoiler)
@ Ch 5 (view spoiler)
@Ch 6 (view spoiler)
@Ch 7 (view spoiler)
@Ch 8(view spoiler)


message 17: by Joan (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan Chapter 16
Do you have any powerful memories of a teacher in high school?

(view spoiler)


message 18: by Joan (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan I'm crushed.
I just found out that I was totally confused about the movie based on this book (I thought it was about a kid that lived in a trailer park and grew up to be a rock star) and that Johnny Depp was not the guy in Breakfast Club. So I don't really know who Johnny Depp was before Pirates of The Carribean.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments For me, he has always been Edward Scissorhands.


message 20: by Joan (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan I never saw that one, is it scary or bloody?


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments I never considered ES scary, just creepy. I was scared to watch it for a long time, but it had more to do with how he looks than what actually happens. (I thought it was going to be like the Lawnmower Man, which I had been tricked into watching.)


message 22: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46828 comments Edward Scissorhands was too bizarre to be scary.


Sandra (sanlema) | 9073 comments Janice wrote: "Edward Scissorhands was too bizarre to be scary."

I agree.


message 24: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 12697 comments I didn't think it was scary either.


message 25: by Joan (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan I cannot believe that anyone would make a movie called Lawnmower man - though one of my relatives in England does compete in lawnmower races


Sandra (sanlema) | 9073 comments Joan wrote: "I cannot believe that anyone would make a movie called Lawnmower man - though one of my relatives in England does compete in lawnmower races"

lol. This mental picture made my day. Thank you, Joan.


Tammy Burger (tammyburger) | 449 comments Love Edward Scissor hands, although it has the same undertones of sadness and feelings of not fitting in, that Gilbert Grape does. I'm enjoying reading the book and am surprised how much of the movie I've forgotten. Will be watching it once I'm done with the book.

I'm annoyed with the bratty adolescent sister.


Tammy Burger (tammyburger) | 449 comments Just saw song news footage from Upstate NY of men using their snow blowers to remove snow from their roofs.


message 29: by Joan (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan Tammy wrote: "Love Edward Scissor hands, although it has the same undertones of sadness and feelings of not fitting in, that Gilbert Grape does. I'm enjoying reading the book and am surprised how much of the mov..."

she is quite a character - are there any ways the family could deal with her more effectively. For example in some families she might have been confined to the house (we called that grounded back in the day)


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments I am at Part 4. Ch 32.
I am having such a hard time trying to divorce my mental image from the movie vs what I am reading in the book that I cannot figure out what to write down to discuss. I don't really remember any details from the movie. I only recall the ending and it feels like I am reading just to get there. The one major thing that has happened has not seemed so traumatic at all.

There are so many complex threads going on in this book. My mental image of the ages of the characters vs. the way they act in this story do not jell. Nothing does. Yes, I know that they are all damaged goods. It seems too simple to say that.

My emotions are all over the place. This story is gross, shocking, sweet, funny, exasperating, unfathomable, uncomfortable and fascinating all at the same time.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments Where are you at in the book, Tammy?
Should I read on or wait, or go back?
Can we discuss this book in parts?
Should we wait for others?
Have you quit Joan?


message 32: by Joan (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan I've finished the book.

In Part 1 we meet Arnie, Amy, Ellen and Gilbert -
If they had lived in your neighborhood when you were growing up, would you have been friends with any of them?


message 33: by Joan (last edited Feb 08, 2017 12:23PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan Spoiler for the whole book
I was friends with a girl (GiGi) whose (view spoiler)


message 34: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 12697 comments Joan wrote: "I was friends with a girl (GiGi) whose Dad had died on a business trip when we were 7. Her Mom really gave up on life at that point. GiGi has a twin sister FiFi and a younger brother.
When they mov..."


That's horrible! It's so sad when someone dies and the parents try to keep them alive. I once worked with a mom whose son had died. She had two daughters and tried to keep him alive, even though one daughter was just a baby and the other not born yet when he passed. At one point, she had a birthday party for him and made a cake, then when the girls were sleeping she ate it and told them that their dead brother had come during the night to eat the cake. I had to step in because she was really confusing the girls, not to mention how scary it can be to think that a dead person is entering your home while you sleep.


message 35: by Joan (last edited Feb 08, 2017 12:24PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan Kristie wrote: "Joan wrote: "(view spoiler)

Kristie - are you a teacher or in mental-health care?
So such a response is not unheard of - I swear all these years I thought Mrs. J. was the only one who ever did that.


message 36: by Kristie, Moderator (last edited Feb 04, 2017 01:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 12697 comments I am in mental health. I did counseling for children that have been removed from their homes, but have not been working this past year.

The case I mentioned above happened many years ago when I was in my undergrad internship. It's the only time I've personally run into that type of situation, but I know people can struggle with letting go or knowing how to tell their children. In my case, the children knew their brother had passed, so the mom keeping him 'alive' was really for her because she was still struggling with it. She didn't want him to be forgotten, even though her daughters never really knew him. It was a very sad situation.

Edit: This case was before I moved on to working with children / adolescents that had been removed from their home. They were not removed for this. I didn't want that to be confusing.


Sandra (sanlema) | 9073 comments Oh my, it is sad AND creepy, Kristie.


Tammy Burger (tammyburger) | 449 comments Cherie wrote: "I am at Part 4. Ch 32.
I am having such a hard time trying to divorce my mental image from the movie vs what I am reading in the book that I cannot figure out what to write down to discuss. I don'..."


Cherie, I just starting chapter 29. So far I don't think the book and movie are too different.


Tammy Burger (tammyburger) | 449 comments Joan wrote: "Tammy wrote: "Love Edward Scissor hands, although it has the same undertones of sadness and feelings of not fitting in, that Gilbert Grape does. I'm enjoying reading the book and am surprised how m..."
I think she is a product of adolescent hormones and an uninvolved hurting parent. Some discipline earlier in life might have helped, but it seems she is kind of parentless.


Tammy Burger (tammyburger) | 449 comments Kristie wrote: "Joan wrote: "I was friends with a girl (GiGi) whose Dad had died on a business trip when we were 7. Her Mom really gave up on life at that point. GiGi has a twin sister FiFi and a younger brother.
..."


Doesn't seem like a healthy way of grieving, but who can predict how they will grieve. As my parents age, I wonder how I will deal with their deaths.


message 41: by Joan (last edited Feb 08, 2017 12:26PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Joan Tammy wrote: "Joan wrote: "Tammy wrote: "Love Edward Scissor hands, (view spoiler)

Tammy, we are glad to have you in the discussion,
Gilbert seems to be a bag of hormones too.


message 42: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 12697 comments Tammy wrote: "Kristie wrote: "Joan wrote: "I was friends with a girl (GiGi) whose Dad had died on a business trip when we were 7. Her Mom really gave up on life at that point. GiGi has a twin sister FiFi and a y..."

Not healthy at all, Tammy. It is difficult to lose a parent. My father died 9 years ago. We were very close and I still struggle with it at times. I can't even imagine the loss of a child.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments Joan - To answer your question about being friends with any of the Grape children. No, I doubt it. My family was almost as dysfunctional as Gilbert's. I can't go into it and don't want to explain.

On the other side of that, one of my daughters might have been. She was always attracted to the outsiders. Her friends seemed always to be the ones that didn't have any other friends, the ones that were different.


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments I just saw the remark/question about grounding Ellen. Who was going to Enforce it? Amy and Gilbert do not want to make waves with their mother. She is not going to tell Ellen anything. Ellen doesn't listen to either of them.


Margo | 9271 comments I thought this book sounded good so I was all set to join the read but it turns out it's copyrighted in Ireland (at least in any digital format).


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments What does that mean, Margo?
You cannot borrow it from a library?


Cherie (crobins0) | 19524 comments I finished the book. Back later...


Margo | 9271 comments I'm have reading problems so paper books are rarely an option for me. I like kindle cos it has OpenDyslexia text which I find easier, plus you have the text-to-speech option. Other than that I do audiobooks.

I checked last week and this book was not available to me in either format. As a your question Cherie I rechecked today and low and behold, I can now buy the Kindle book for £2 - yay!


Tammy Burger (tammyburger) | 449 comments Joan wrote: "In its review, Publishers Weekly said this book has "clever literary symbols"; please let us know if you notice any.


I just noticed that Publishers Weekly has no apostrophe- huh."


I'm not sure this is a literacy symbol, but thought it was an interesting quote in light of US politics today.

"He looks like an American. In fact, he behaves like one. When he tried to pick up the first kid he knocked down, he smashed into several others, it snowballed, chaos ensued. My brother very much resembled America today in pretty much all things."


message 50: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 12697 comments Margo, I tried to get an audio copy as well, but it's not available here (USA) either. I'm not sure they made an audio.


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