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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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It had a good moral and the story/characters were interesting, but something about this felt incredibly dated. I can't put my finger on it, but it felt like it took place in the 70s or 80s. ( )
  benuathanasia | Mar 16, 2017 |
I like this book for several reasons. I like the way the author changes the tone and descriptive language to develop the plot and describe Gilly’s feelings. Even though the book is in third person, the author describes events and people as if Gilly herself were speaking. Toward the beginning of the book, Gilly has quite a bad attitude towards her new foster family. The author uses imagery and descriptive language to make it known to the reader that she feels this way. In the beginning of the story, the author describes Trotter as an “ignorant hippopotamus” and makes many other negative descriptions referencing Trotter’s heavy-set complexion. The text describes William Ernest in a negative context only, referring to him as “retarded”. The texts also indicates Gilly’s feelings toward African American's by negatively describing Mr. Randolph as “colored”, and refers to her teacher as an “African bush woman.” Later on in the story when Gilly’s attitude becomes more positive as she starts to have a change of heart, the text doesn’t describe or reference to any of these people in a negative way. Instead, the author chooses descriptive language to describe Gilly’s affection towards the people she once disliked. I also like that each character in the text was well developed. Throughout the course of the book the author reveals personal information about each character. Over time, the reader begins to develop a love for each of the people in Gilly’s life. Even though the book is about “the great Gilly Hopkins”, the author makes sure to tell enough details about each of the other characters. This helps the reader become connected to them in the way that Gilly is. This helps develop the plot and causes the reader to be sad when Gilly has to leave her foster family and live with her grandmother. This helps the reader connect with Gilly and feel the sadness she too feels about leaving them. The moral of this story is that not everyone’s family is related to them by blood or even by law. Family is the people who are there for you through the good and the bad. Family knows what’s best for you even if you yourself don’t. ( )
  ndrehm1 | Mar 7, 2017 |
I had mixed feelings about The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson. The story was a compelling, heart-wrenching page turner, but certain aspects of it did not sit well with me.
Before reading this story, I was expecting a tale of a spunky child who would charm the world with her antics. That is not Gilly Hopkins. I was delivered a girl who presented herself as tougher than nails and as purposefully defiant and ornery. Many of Gilly’s first impressions and actions, whether it be to the characters in the novel or to the reader themselves, are off-putting and frustrating. As the story goes on, the reader is able to discover a variety of reasons behind Gilly’s attitude, from an absentee mother to foster families who bounced her around, including the note that “if there was anything her [Gilly’s] short life had taught her, it was that a person must be tough. Otherwise, you were had” (72). Such an explanation puts the reader in a place to now empathize with Gilly. The inclusion of these details after the description of many of Gilly’s more challenging qualities leaves the reader with an important message: do not judge a book by its cover, always look into the why before judging the what. This book does a great job at conveying this message.
Another powerful message was delivered to the readers at the end of the story, this time through the voice of Maime Trotter: “Life ain’t supposed to be nothing, ‘cep maybe tough… nothing to make you happy like doing good on a tough job, now is there?” (177). Trotter gives this message to Gilly as she is begging to be allowed to return to the home she had carved out for herself in Maryland, rather than remain in Virginia with her maternal grandmother. This message struck me deeply, and was the closest thing to closure that any reader could get out of Gilly’s final placement. The choppy, unresolved ending to the novel seems to be an intentional mimic of real life, and these words from Trotter give the reader at least a little bit of an apology for this choppiness.
This story was indeed a powerful one, and I was able to take a lot out of it as a future educator. I would recommend this book to many adults, especially ones working with children. I do not know, however, if I would set a student of mine up with this story. Gilly is framed as a challenging child, but the themes of manipulation, prejudice, and lying outweigh many of the positive themes in the story. I would want to be careful handing this novel out, and if I were to do so I would want to be sure to closely follow along with my students’ reading, so as to explain certain points and to be there with them while they experienced many of the heart-wrenching moments that I did while reading. ( )
  elaine.shea | Mar 6, 2017 |
In my opinion this is a fantastic book! This book was amazing. It gave great examples of growing up and realizing what you have before it’s gone. The reason I really liked this book was because of the language. The language is very descriptive and clear, especially when Gilly is talking. It’s fun to read the book because of the way she talks. For example, Gilly says, “Then why the hell you think I’m going to watch some retard show like that?” She is very blunt and says exactly what she’s thinking. But who could blame her when she’s been through so much. This shows that the author wanted her to have a tough image since she has been through a lot. Another reason why I liked this book was because of the characters. I really liked Gilly, she was interesting to read and her character just seemed so real to me. A child her age acting out the way she does isn’t out of the ordinary, and some of the story was really upsetting, but I really like her character because she’s real. For example, “The word “mother” triggered something deep in her stomach.” This is what I mean by her being real. Even though she puts in this act of a tough kid, she’s still upset when it comes to her mother. Most children are like this when it comes to their parents. ( )
  mwolf11 | Feb 27, 2017 |
Genre- realistic fiction
Age- Intermediate, Middle school
Summary- This book is about this girl named Gilly that has been in foster care in and out of homes. She thinks that her mother is going to one day come and get her. Gilly hates all the foster places she is sent to, even the on at Ms. Trotter's. Soon after a while she gets use to the Trotter family and realizes that they all care for her and when they all get sick that family comes together. A while back before she liked it at the Trotters she sent her mom a letter telling her about the living situation she hated. Well soon Gilly's grandmother decided to come get her and Gilly went with her and lived there. Soon to regret it. Her mom Courtney come over for a holiday and it makes Gilly really happy at first but then her mom ends up leaving again and soon Gilly finds out that the only reason her mom came was because her grandmother gave her money. Gilly get really upset and wants to go back to the Trotters but they told her that where she's at with her grandmother is home. She preached to her a little about life.
Critique- I really thought this book was pretty good besides all the sad realities that happen sometimes. It was a shock to hear some of the things this little girl had to deal with and it helps you understand why she acts out the way she did. I think this could be a good booker some students to read because it connects to life on a deep level weather its a shock to you that this stuff happens or weather its something you've gone through and you connect on it in a deep level. I think that if i was a teacher for higher grade levels this book would be in my class room.
Media- Printed in the U.S.A ( )
  alopez19 | Feb 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (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 editionscalculated
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.
Then she printed on the front of the card: They're saying "Black is Beautiful" but the best that I can figger is everyone whose saying so looks mightily like and on the inside of the card she wrote: a person with a vested interest in maintaining this point of view.
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(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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