Sherino Mokhtar Mokhtar itibaren Klinets, Leningradskaya oblast', Rusya, 187507
I absolutely adored this book. I already knew that there was a movie with the story, but I didn't know it was based off of a book. I grabbed it the second I saw it on Miss Beckett's bookshelf. Anyway, one of the things that really stood out for me in this book was that all the characters were so unique and unlike anyone else in this book or just about every other book that I've read. Just Gilbert's family alone is so different from each other - their mother, a heavy smoker who is so obese that the floor under her is sagging; Amy, who at 34 is the oldest child in the family and has a serious obsession with Elvis; Gilbert, who spends just about the whole book wanting to leave his family behind and get out of his hometown of Endora, Iowa; Arnie, a mentally challenged young man whose 18th birthday defies all medical predictions; and Ellen, the manipulative, whiny, girly 16 year old sister who is the youngest in the family. And those are just the family members who share the same house in Endora. Larry and Janice, the second and third oldest children, respectively, live and work elsewhere, and their father killed himself when Gilbert was seven years old (he is 24 in the book). Another reason why I loved this book so much is because it effortlessly captures your attention and entertains you until the very last word. Peter Hedges does an amazing job of keeping your interest but is not screaming for your attention. Overall, this was an excellent book and I highly recommend it to anyone who feels that they are actually mature enough to handle some of the dialogue and events that go on.