Katherine Paterson’s early works (Bridge to Terebithia, Jacob Have I Loved, and The Great Gilly Hopkins) were my favorite books as a child. The same day I learned there was to be a film adaptation of The Great Gilly Hopkins, I received a call from my mother. She was just as excited as me. How could she possibly forget her sweet, ten year old, constantly carrying around that old, tattered copy everywhere? Believe it or not, I still have that battered edition, as I never could bring myself to throw it out. Too many memories together. So, after my mom called reminding me of my obsession with this book, I knew it was time for a re-read. I had to look for a few hours, and when I found it, I was actually frightened to open it. I thought my precious little paperback might turn to dust in my hands, and blow away. Proving just as tough as its main character, the little book held together, and I spent a day remembering.
I remembered why I related to Gilly. We were the same age, and she was smart. She was tough, and a bit of a tomboy, like me. She was also kind and sensitive, underneath. Struggling with the emotional void of an absent parent, Gilly attempts to devise a scheme to be reunited with her birth mother. I battled with this kind of loss, as many of us have, and many still do.
You really should read the book and see the movie, whatever your age. It will touch your heart, and remind you to cherish your family, whatever shape or size it may be. And (holy crap!!) Kathy Bates plays foster mother, Mamie Trotter, and Glenn Close as Gilly's grandmother, Nonnie Hopkins. Julia Stiles plays Gilly's absentee mother, Courtney, and Octavia Spencer makse an appearance as Gilly's teacher. Can it get much better than that?
Please, check the KCLS Catalog for other books by Katherine Paterson