The Great Gilly Hopkins
|The Great Gilly Hopkins|
Front cover of unknown edition
|March 28, 1978|
|Media type||Print (hardcover & paperback)|
|Pages||160 pp (first edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 978-0-690-03837-8 (first, hard)|
|LC Class||PZ7.P273 Gr|
The Great Gilly Hopkins (1978) is a realistic novel for children by Katherine Paterson. A movie based on the novel starring Sophie Nélisse as Gilly Hopkins and Kathy Bates as Trotter is currently in production and due for release in 2014.
Gilly Hopkins is a mean, brash young girl who is going to another foster home. She hates living with different people all the time and just wants to settle in with her birth mother, Courtney Rutherford Hopkins. While living at Trotter's home, Gilly gets into trouble as usual. She doesn't like how Trotter (her foster mom) looks, and she quickly decides she is going to hate her for the rest of her life.
Gilly hatches up a plan to escape. She knows that her mother lives in San Francisco, so she wrote a letter to Courtney saying that her beloved Galadriel will be with her soon. When Gilly escapes the first time, she gets caught by police and Trotter is to immediately come down to the station to retrieve her. Gilly's grandmother, Nonnie, comes to Trotter's house and tells her that she will take her home. But now Gilly realizes that she really wants to be with Trotter. However, Gilly has to get picked up by Nonnie, and she goes to Nonnie's house.
Then Gilly has good news: her mother is coming. But when she goes to the airport, Courtney is not the Courtney she remembers: Courtney has become fat, her hair got stringier, and a lot of other things Gilly didn't expect. Gilly also finds out that her mother only came because Nonnie paid her, not because she wanted to come. She realizes for the first time how foolish she had been and that she loves Trotter.
- Galadriel "Gilly" Hopkins, the title character of the story. She is 11 years old, with blonde hair and an unkempt appearance. She does not care for her given name, Galadriel (from the Lord of the Rings books), and prefers to be called "Gilly". Gilly has spent most of her life in foster care, being sent from one home to another. She is extremely brilliant or smart and creative, but is also very bitter, angry and completely unmanageable after years of rejection at the hands of her various foster parents. Later in the book Gilly shows signs of caring.
- Maime M. Trotter, called "Trotter", is Gilly's new foster mother. She is a large woman who wears glasses and lives in a messy, albeit large, house. Trotter is said to be one of the foster care system's most respected caregivers.
- William Ernest Teague is Gilly's foster brother at Trotter's home. He is seven years old, with brown hair and glasses, and has a nervous disposition. When people make sudden movements around him he often ducks, as if he is expecting to be hit. Gilly initially enjoys tormenting William Ernest, but eventually grows to like him and helps him with his reading. She also helps teach him to defend himself from mean bullies.
- Ms. Ellis is Gilly's social worker. She has known Gilly for some time, and has shuttled her back and forth to various foster homes.
- Mr. Randolph is Maime Trotter's next-door neighbour. He is a blind African-American man, and lives alone in a house with an impressive library of books. Mr. Randolph is good friends with Trotter, and joins her every night for supper. One of Gilly's jobs at Trotter's home is to escort Mr. Randolph to and from his house.
- Courtney Rutherford Hopkins is Gilly's biological mother. She is a former flower child, has not seen or lived with her daughter for most of her life and couldn't or didn't do anything about it, although she does send Gilly an occasional postcard. Gilly's most prized possession is an old photograph of her mother which has been inscribed to her. She was paid by Nonnie to see Gilly and goes back without her.
- Nonnie Hopkins is Gilly's maternal grandmother and Courtney's mother. She is not aware of Gilly's existence until Courtney writes to her, asking her to assume custody. Her other child, Chadwell, died while serving in the Vietnam War.
- Agnes Stokes is a girl at Gilly's school. She comes from a troubled background herself, having been abandoned by both of her parents, and lives with her grandmother. She hangs around Gilly and tries to win her friendship. Gilly dislikes her, but uses her to help steal Mr. Randolph's money.
- Miss Barbara Harris is Gilly's sixth-grade teacher. She is African-American and initially Gilly has a very difficult time interacting with her. Eventually, she learns to like Miss Harris and begins to do well in school. After she moves to Virginia, Gilly remains in contact with Miss Harris, writing to her to discuss the Lord of the Rings books.
Mr.Trotter: Mrs.Trotter's husband
Awards and nominations
Gilly Hopkins has won several major accolades, including the 1979 National Book Award in category Children's Literature, a 1979 [Christopher Award], the 1979 Jane Addams Award and a 1979 Newbery Honor. It has additionally won several state awards across the United States, including the 1981 Georgia Children's Books: 1966-1978.