The great Gilly Hopkins ISBN: 9780140313024
Published by Puffin, 1999
Galadriel Hopkins, named by her flower child mother before she disappeared to San Francisco, is a tough cookie. No one is going to get past the barriers she has constructed for herself since being passed from foster parent to foster parent. At 11, Gilly is about as unlovable as they come, and her newest home with fat Maime Trotter and another foster child, weedy little William Ernest, seems destined to prove even less acceptable than the others. This is even more apparent when Gilly learns that Maime brings an elderly blind, black man to her house for supper each evening. Gilly firmly believes that her mum will collect her one day, and when she gets a postcard from San Francisco saying 'wish you were here', she is convinced all she has to do is write to mum for her dream to come true. Maime shows more grit and understanding than Gilly expected, and she even becomes a little fond of William Ernest and Mr. Randolph next door. But when the opportunity arises for Gilly to steal money for her fare to S.F., she takes it. Caught before she can get far, she is returned to Maime, who is firm but loving. When the whole family gets flu, it is Gilly who copes, only to have her grandmother turn up on the doorstep. Gilly is stunned to find she has family besides her missing mum and has no desire to live with grandmother. The courts judge otherwise, however, and she is packed off to Virginia to grandmother, who has also had her share of tragedy. When Gilly's mum finally appears on the scene, briefly, Gilly's illusions are shattered, and she learns to accept people, including herself, as they are. Maime remains a lynch-pin, but Gilly lives with grandmother, who truly cares. Unsentimental language and real people.