Customer Reviews for

The Great Gilly Hopkins

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( 139 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

GO GILLY!:D

A great book really a page turner katherine paterson is a spectacular author

posted by 8262220 on May 26, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

from Missprint DOT wordpress DOT com

Eleven-year-old Galadriel Hopkins ("Gilly" to the plebs she is forced to mix with in foster care) is not known for being cute or cuddly. Instead, she is the girl with the harsh words, mean attitude and, most recently, the really big bubble of gum that blew up in her fac...
Eleven-year-old Galadriel Hopkins ("Gilly" to the plebs she is forced to mix with in foster care) is not known for being cute or cuddly. Instead, she is the girl with the harsh words, mean attitude and, most recently, the really big bubble of gum that blew up in her face. Gilly is not the girl any foster parent in their right mind would want to adopt.

Which is just fine with Gilly because she already has a mother. A real mother. A movie star beautiful mother named Courtney Rutherford Hopkins who misses her and wishes they could be together.

For Gilly, that's enough. Knowing that somewhere Courtney is wishing for her daughter as badly as Gilly is wishing for her mother can get Gilly through anything.

At least, it could before she arrived at Mrs. Trotter's front door. Everything about this foster home is wrong. Trotter is fat and ugly. William Ernest, the other foster child, isn't too quick on the uptake. And (gasp) a wrinkled, old black man lives next door. Trotter and her band of misfits might be more bizarre than Gilly could ever imagine. But could they also be just what she needs? It's enough to make Gilly hatch an escape plan (or three) in The Great Gilly Hopkins (1978) by Katherine Paterson.

First things first: The Great Gilly Hopkins was the 1979 Newbery Honor book (The Westing Game won the gold that year). It made it to #55 in Betsy Bird's Top 100 Children's Novels poll. I haven't been following the poll too closely because the posts overwhelm me, but the segment about Gilly is necessarily relevant to this review. Katherine Paterson herself was also just recently appointed National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

In other words, everything about this book is a big deal.

Personally, I had very mixed feelings about The Great Gilly Hopkins (although I'm finding that to be true about a lot of children's classics lately). On the one hand I wanted very badly to be on Gilly's side and pull for her as an abandoned child that really needs someone to love her in her own right, not as a temporary commodity. On the other hand, Gilly works so hard at pushing people away that, at a certain point, it becomes hard to care too much or cheer too loudly for this girl who is all hard edges and anger.

This next part is going to have spoilers because just about everyone in the entire world has already read this book: Paterson does a great job creating Gilly as a character she is fully developed even though she is loathe to tell readers everything about her less-than-ideal past in the foster system. The book also handles a bold topic: looking at a little girl who is in the foster system not because she is an orphan but because her parent did not want her. The abandonment is extreme and, in the story, becomes palpable even as Gilly clings to the idealized vision she's created for her mother from a photograph and a note.

That said, I also had a lot of issues with the book. Gilly is essentially racist at the beginning of the story. She does grow and evolve and move past that, but it's one of those elements that seemed to be added to a book for a wow/edgy factor than for the actual story (in other words, I don't know that Gilly had to be racist to make the book work). It also seems like race wouldn't have been such a hot topic by that time--I might be mistaken though since I wasn't actually alive in 1978.

The adults in the novel also bothered me. A lot. If the grandmother cared so much about Gilly why was she

posted by MissPrint on February 28, 2012

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    from Missprint DOT wordpress DOT com

    Eleven-year-old Galadriel Hopkins ("Gilly" to the plebs she is forced to mix with in foster care) is not known for being cute or cuddly. Instead, she is the girl with the harsh words, mean attitude and, most recently, the really big bubble of gum that blew up in her face. Gilly is not the girl any foster parent in their right mind would want to adopt.

    Which is just fine with Gilly because she already has a mother. A real mother. A movie star beautiful mother named Courtney Rutherford Hopkins who misses her and wishes they could be together.

    For Gilly, that's enough. Knowing that somewhere Courtney is wishing for her daughter as badly as Gilly is wishing for her mother can get Gilly through anything.

    At least, it could before she arrived at Mrs. Trotter's front door. Everything about this foster home is wrong. Trotter is fat and ugly. William Ernest, the other foster child, isn't too quick on the uptake. And (gasp) a wrinkled, old black man lives next door. Trotter and her band of misfits might be more bizarre than Gilly could ever imagine. But could they also be just what she needs? It's enough to make Gilly hatch an escape plan (or three) in The Great Gilly Hopkins (1978) by Katherine Paterson.

    First things first: The Great Gilly Hopkins was the 1979 Newbery Honor book (The Westing Game won the gold that year). It made it to #55 in Betsy Bird's Top 100 Children's Novels poll. I haven't been following the poll too closely because the posts overwhelm me, but the segment about Gilly is necessarily relevant to this review. Katherine Paterson herself was also just recently appointed National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

    In other words, everything about this book is a big deal.

    Personally, I had very mixed feelings about The Great Gilly Hopkins (although I'm finding that to be true about a lot of children's classics lately). On the one hand I wanted very badly to be on Gilly's side and pull for her as an abandoned child that really needs someone to love her in her own right, not as a temporary commodity. On the other hand, Gilly works so hard at pushing people away that, at a certain point, it becomes hard to care too much or cheer too loudly for this girl who is all hard edges and anger.

    This next part is going to have spoilers because just about everyone in the entire world has already read this book: Paterson does a great job creating Gilly as a character she is fully developed even though she is loathe to tell readers everything about her less-than-ideal past in the foster system. The book also handles a bold topic: looking at a little girl who is in the foster system not because she is an orphan but because her parent did not want her. The abandonment is extreme and, in the story, becomes palpable even as Gilly clings to the idealized vision she's created for her mother from a photograph and a note.

    That said, I also had a lot of issues with the book. Gilly is essentially racist at the beginning of the story. She does grow and evolve and move past that, but it's one of those elements that seemed to be added to a book for a wow/edgy factor than for the actual story (in other words, I don't know that Gilly had to be racist to make the book work). It also seems like race wouldn't have been such a hot topic by that time--I might be mistaken though since I wasn't actually alive in 1978.

    The adults in the novel also bothered me. A lot. If the grandmother cared so much about Gilly why was she

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Terrible

    I had to read this book 4 school and i really didnt enjoy it. Gilly is rude and uses bad language, the characters are boring, and the story was just really lacking something essential to make it an enjoyable read.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    GO GILLY!:D

    A great book really a page turner katherine paterson is a spectacular author

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Memories

    I read this book in 5th grd...Haha great book to read together :)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Anoymus

    This book was good, but it did have some problems. There was some bad words. The main character was racist.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    Trusted parent review

    This okay book is about a girl named Gilly Hopkins. This novel has some strong language so I recomend do not let younger children read without premisson so keep that in mind if a younger child wants to read this book. Happy reading!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2005

    Best Book!

    The great gilly hopkins was a fun book. It is now one of my all time favorites. The ending turned out a little weird but some are. My favorite character in this book was William Ernest or W.E. in the beginning Gilly thinks he's retarded but he really is smarter than he looks.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Fantastic!

    Omg this book is like totally amazing. I read this book all the time when im bored. It never gets old! Although the book is short it is awsome i defanatly recomend this book. GET IT!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2012

    The great gilly hopkins

    I love this book my sixth grade teacher read it to us in language arts. There was some cure words in it and gilly was racist so i wouldnt recommend it for young kids without their parents permission.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2005

    Susanna Limon April 26,2005

    This book was a delight to read. Gilly is a stubborn and determined six grade girl who is hardened by her life experience. Wanting something and getting it are two different things as shown in this book; Becareful of what you wish for!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2003

    great!!

    it was a surprisingly really good book! going from foster home to foster gilly all twisted but it is a great book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    ;)

    This book is preety good one of the things that rok is the swearing. ;)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Ummmm

    I read this book awhile ago, and didn't really enjoy it. Some parts were good, but the rest of the book bored me. Just another book with orphan protaganist. This book isn't bad, but it isn't anything special.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Middle school must read

    I read this book for the first time about twenty five years ago. Even though i was young, the theme "what makes a family" still stuck with me. Even though Gilly is a troubled young girl, she realizes that even though she has a biological mom , Trotter was more of a mother to her than she ever had.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    What

    How could you say that it was the worst book ever I loved the book !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Ghdhdjdjx

    I had to read this for school in 4th and I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is a awesome book and will recamend it to everybody!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Bad Book Alert!!!!

    Were you adopted or do you know someone who was? Well this story is about a girl named Gilly who can't find the right foster home for her. The Great Gilly Hopkins was written by Katherine Paterson and has a Newbery Honor Book award. The genre of The Great Gilly Hopkins is realistic fiction. However it used a confusing method of flashbacks and narration,and it also had a TERRIBLE ending.
    I disliked how in The Great Gilly Hopkins there were flashbacks in Gilly's memory and in her imagination. It was confusing to tell if Gilly was having a flashback or if it was the narration. While driving to her new foster home she had flashbacks about her old foster families that she hated. At her final home, Gilly had a flashback about her last foster home that she just realized she missed. The Great Gilly Hopkins uses a confusing method of narration and flash backs.
    I disliked the ending in The Great Gilly Hopkins because it didn't keep you interested. It was confusing and left you unsatisfied. While at the airport Gilly was talking and you couldn't tell who she was talking to. The end was loose ended, and didn't keep you wondering what the visitor would bring to Gilly's life, just informed about Gilly's plans. The ending in The Great Gilly Hopkins didn't keep you interested.
    In my opinion The Great Gilly Hopkins is a bad book. I think it's a awful book because it had a lot of flashbacks and you didn't know if the flashbacks were in the present or a flashback in addition the ending confusing. However even with the few good parts in the book, over all I thought it was a poor book!

    -Flip22

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2005

    a lesson learned

    Gilly Hopkins learns a valuable lesson. 'Don't judge a book by its cover.' And i learned that lesson when i had to read this book. this book might look boring or not interesting, but once you get into the book it is a amazing tale about how gilly goes through life. and how hard it is...and i know some people can relate to that!:)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    I Love this book

    being a adopted child.. i think this book relates alot to my real life.. she doesn't knwo her real mother but trys to work with her families.. she rebells at first btu trualy loves her ' family ' alot and is very upset when she is taken away from them and must live with her reali grandmother and finds out that her reali mother lied in her loving letters and does not want her to come live with her and onli vists her so she will get sent money for her drug habbits.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2004

    The GREAT Gilly Hopkins

    I read this book in the fifth grade, and it changed my life forever. It opened my eyes, made me more thoughtful. Ten years later, I still pause to think about Gilly. An amazing book for all kids in her stage of life. It's about overcoming one's own quickness to judge others unfairly, and finding goodness and love in the most unexpected places.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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