What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges is a 335-page hardcover published by Poseidon Press, 1991. The dust jacket has very light shelf wear. Inside, the book pages are clean and unmarked, and the binding is tight.
Gilbert Grape, twenty-four, is "one of those Grapes" of Endora, Iowa, population 1,091. Everybody knows them--their mother Bonnie, the former town beauty, is now an elephantine legend. Since her husband's death, she has been eating nonstop, and the floor beneath her permanently occupied TV chair is threatening to cave in. They also know Gilbert's big sister, Amy, the Elvis fanatic who is following her mother's example, and his little sister, Ellen, the prettiest girl in town, whose popularity has soared since her braces have come off. And they know Arnie, "the retard," who loves to climb the town's water tower and whose rapidly approaching eighteenth birthday defies all medical predictions.
What's eating Gilbert Grape? Just about everything: his family; his bizarre relationship with Betty Carver, wife of the local insurance agent; his best friend, Tucker, now little more than a cog in the town's new fast-food franchise machine; and most of all, his hometown, a place quickly paving over its values and history. Most of his friends have left Endora, but Gilbert has stayed, bound by tremendous loyalty and tremendous fear. Gilbert is stuck inside himself, unable to act, to move, to live.
When a mysterious young beauty from Michigan pursues Gilbert, the emotions and desires he has bottled up begin to explode, and he sees his town, his family, and his life with a new clarity. And he finds the strength to wrench himself from the roots that bind him, and to become, fully, himself.