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The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine…

The Great Gilly Hopkins (1978)

by Katherine Paterson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (89)  Dutch (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
The Great Gilly Hopkins was a fantastic read and it truly was a page turner. I really enjoyed it for several reasons. First, the characters are very realistic and relatable, and most definitely grow throughout the novel. Gilly, especially, is true of all three characteristics. One quote that stuck out to me that I found extremely relatable was “…and if there was anything her short life had taught her, it was that a person must be tough” (60). Many readers can relate to this quote, as in our culture it’s considered a flaw to be seen as “weak.” Gilly also grew throughout the novel. In the beginning, she thought that only her real mother would be able to love her, but after staying with Trotter, she slowly realizes that she was wrong. On pages 120-121, Gilly realizes the gravity of her mistake in sending her mother a letter: that letter would change her life forever, separating her from a loving home.

I also liked the author’s use of figurative language throughout the novel. Patterson uses a great deal of metaphors and similes in order to drive points home. For example, on page 8, Gilly says, “Listening to that woman was like licking melted ice cream off the carton.” This gives the reader a visual of the difficulty. Another example of figurative language occurs on page 16, where Gilly is talking about her hair. She says, “Today it looked like a lot that been partially bulldozed – an uprooted tree here, a half wall with a crumbling chimney there.” The metaphors and similes add some color to the writing and help paint a picture in the readers’ mind.

The central message of the story is that family might not always be what you expect it to be. In her letter to her mother, Courtney, on page 76, Gilly says, “At the present time, it is very desperate, or I would not bother you. The foster mother is a religious fanatic. Besides that she can hardly read and write and has a very dirty house and weird friends. There is another kid here who is probably mentally retarded.” Gilly didn’t think that anyone, especially a “weird” family, could love her like her birth mother. She realized that she was completely wrong when her birth mother had to be forced to visit her. Trotter, W.E. and Mr. Randolph were the people who truly loved her, which was completely different than her expectation. ( )
  ribber1 | Oct 13, 2015 |
I really enjoyed reading this. First, the humor was very entertaining. For example the main character, Gilly, refers to her foster mother, Trotter, as very large; “the whole mammoth body began to shake with giant sobs”. The story also provides hope for readers. Although Gilly is waiting for the day her birth mother wants her back, the reader has hopeful that she will eventually learn to love Trotter and her foster brother. By the end of the story, Gilly realizes her birth mother isn’t who she thought she would be, but she found love and acceptance from Trotter and that was what she was looking for all along. The events during the story are believable. When Gilly stole money from Trotter this is something that was easy to believe since many children don’t realize the importance of money. Also, Gilly was very rude to everyone at school and to Trotter at the beginning. This is also believable because she is a young girl bouncing around from homes and schools. She needed someone to love her and show her they care. Lastly, I liked how Gilly really grew up and changed throughout the story. At the beginning she was a mean little girl who was mad at the world. By the end, she learned that her birth mother didn’t want her and that was okay. Gilly realized she can find love elsewhere and be a part of another family. Gilly learned to accept Trotter, Mr. Randolph, and W.E. Overall, this book was very enjoyable. I laughed at many parts and it was an easy read. ( )
  SarahAlaoui | Oct 7, 2015 |
Gilly is a independent over confident girl. she is a foster kid and she really wants her real mother back. she hates all of her foster parents and she has had a lot of foster parents. then she meets the Trotters at first she hates them then she doesn't know it but she starts to like them but she is still trying to get her mom. When she starts to really like them her mother comes and she go's with her mom. I think Katherine Paterson did a really good job on this book because it has a lot of detail so you know what is going on. I recommend this book to you if you like books that you cant put down. and if you like books with emotion. ( )
  lillybennett | May 24, 2015 |
In my opinion, this was a wonderful book to read. I really liked the language the author used. For example, its setting is around the 1960-70s in the South. Gilly has moved around a few time so she isn't aware that Black and White people now get along. She doesn’t like her teacher, Miss Harris and even writes her a poem proving it. However, they both discover how alike they are as the story progresses. I also liked the plot of the story. It was a very unique plot line. For example, I expected a very happy ending: Gilly was going to be with her mother once again. But, plot twist! Gilly’s mother didn’t want her back. When Gilly is forced to move to Virginia with her grandmother, she ends up not liking it there. Finally, even though there were no pictures in the book, the author used such descriptive words that it was easy to create a vivid image in your mind. The way Trotter, Mr. Randolph, and William Earnest were depicted was so specific that is was almost like you became Gilly as you read the book. The main message of this story is to not judge a book by its cover. Trotter and William Earnest in the end of the book are not what Gilly expected them to be. Neither is her mother. Gilly herself goes through a shocking transformation. ( )
  AliciaTrotman | May 7, 2015 |
Summary: This is about Gilly, a young foster child who wanted to get back to her real mom so badly that she tried everything she could to get kicked out of her foster homes. Gilly tries to get everyone she meets to dislike her because she has her mind set on the idea that she only needs her mom and herself. Gilly tries to steal money and get a bus ticket to go see her mom, but she gets caught. She realizes she has people that love her. She ends up meeting her real mom and she finds out that her real mom left her on purpose. Gilly ends up loving the grandma she met and her new foster family.

Personal Reaction: I did not like the cursing and racial comments in this book. Personally, I wouldn't real this book to a group of young children. I thought the overall theme was good and the story is probably relatable to a lot of kids in the foster care system.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1) Talk about the importance of using more appropriate words to explain our feelings
2) Switch up seats and have the kids make new friends in the class
  Bretny | Apr 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
One of my favorites from grade school. Despite her hatred towards her adoptive family, one of my favorite Gilly moments is where she teaches WE (the little boy) to stand up for himself by saying "Get the hell outta my way!"
I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of the age group.
added by leedavies777 | editnew york times

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Katherine Patersonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berthelius, MarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Mary
from her real and adopted mother with love
First words
"Gilly," said Miss Ellis with a shake of her long blonde hair toward the passenger in the back seat.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064402010, Paperback)

Gilly Hopkins is a determined-to-be-unpleasant 11-year-old foster kid who the reader can't help but like by the end. Gilly has been in the foster system all her life, and she dreams of getting back to her (as she imagines) wonderful mother. (The mother makes these longings worse by writing the occasional letter.) Gilly is all the more determined to leave after she's placed in a new foster home with a "gross guardian and a freaky kid." But she soon learns about illusions--the hard way. This Newbery Honor Book manages to treat a somewhat grim, and definitely grown-up theme with love and humor, making it a terrific read for a young reader who's ready to learn that "happy" and "ending" don't always go together. (Ages 9 to 12) --Richard Farr

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:37 -0400)

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An eleven-year-old foster child tries to cope with her longings and fears as she schemes against everyone who tries to be friendly.

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