The Great Gilly Hopkins

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Book - 1978 148 :
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Baker & Taylor
An eleven-year-old foster child tries to cope with her longings and fears as she schemes against everyone who tries to be friendly.


This timeless Newbery Honor Book from bestselling author Katherine Paterson about a wisecracking, ornary, completely unforgettable young heroine. Now a feature film starring Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, and Octavia Spencer!

Eleven-year-old Gilly has been stuck in more foster families than she can remember, and she's hated them all. She has a reputation for being brash, brilliant, and completely unmanageable, and that's the way she likes it. So when she's sent to live with the Trotters—by far the strangest family yet—she knows it's only a temporary problem.

Gilly decides to put her sharp mind to work and get out of there fast. She's determined to no longer be a foster kid. Before long she's devised an elaborate scheme to get her real mother to come rescue her. Unfortunately, the plan doesn't work out quite as she hoped it would...

& Taylor

Finding herself in the latest and most intolerable of a string of foster homes, an eleven-year-old who prides herself on her cleverness and unmanageability tries gamely to provoke the adults around her

Publisher: New York : Crowell, c1978. 148 p. : 24 cm
ISBN: 9780690038385


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Ramin Raiyan Azim
Mar 26, 2019

It is a very nice book. But the ending is kinda bad. she sees her mom at the airport and says she is ugly.

Jan 14, 2019

I really enjoyed this book. Gilly intends to drive her foster family, potential friends, and school teachers away. Her life in the foster system has been unstable: moving from place to place. She is determined to reunite with her mother, particularly after she receives a postcard from her mother saying she wished Gilly was with her in California. Gilly is smart and determined, but she is also angry, prejudiced, and often outright mean. She starts to change, though, when she is placed in a new home where her foster mother, Mrs. Trotter, her foster brother, William Ernest, and their next door neighbor, Mr. Randolph, treat her with love, grace, forgiveness, understanding, and compassion. Her fool proof techniques to drive people away seem to fail her in this new home and with these new people and she's caught between her idealized dream of her mother and her desire to reunite with her, and the affection she is starting to feel for her new family.

Sep 20, 2014

Back when I was in grade 4, I found this book on the shelf of books to choose from for when a student had forgotten to bring a book themself. I should not have found it there.

I should first point out that I went to a Christian school and this book is very much against, and quite judgmental of, Christianity, in a very offensive way. The character depicted is just so annoying. "Gruesome Gilly" as he calls himself, he wants to escape from his aunt by catching a bus to live with his mother. I do not recall why Gruesome Gilly lived with his aunt, but it was a stupid reason.

Gilly also went to a CASA-like school where he learned to control his anger. Of course, Gilly made fun of everyone else there's disabilities. I never made it to the end, because when he finally tried to escape by catching the bus, he got caught by his paranoid aunt. This is about halfway through this giant book which moves at the pace of a snail who persisted on crawling one day.

So instead, because I was extremely bored, knew the book was trash, and was just barely hooked enough to want to know what happens, I just skipped to the end. In the end Gilly finally catches the bus, sees his mother, who once again calls Christians stupid (in a Texas accent) and the book is over. Happy ending! Don't bother reading this one. Obnoxious character, horrendous plot.

LawrenceCopenhaver Jul 13, 2014

Students from Grades 5-8 will adore the experience of reading, studying, discussing, analyzing, evaluating, arguing, and learning this well-written, powerfully-narrated, true work of literary art -- especially if said experiences happen as group and/or whole-class, directed/guided novel study.

[*Also appropriate for G&T (3,4)].


Add Age Suitability
LawrenceCopenhaver Jul 13, 2014

LawrenceCopenhaver thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 15

yellow_cat_1443 Mar 31, 2014

yellow_cat_1443 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


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LawrenceCopenhaver Jul 13, 2014

But you just fool yourself if you expect good things all the time. They ain’t what’s regular—don’t nobody owe ’em to you.”
“If life is so bad, how come you’re so happy?”
“Did I say bad? I said it was tough. Nothing to make you happy like doing good on a tough job, now is there?" (Paterson, 127)

LawrenceCopenhaver Jul 13, 2014

"The world is woefully short on frog smoochers" (Paterson, 126).


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