Friday, January 07, 2011

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Completed January 4, 2011
Recommended by Ana
This is the much-loved tale of Judy Abbott, a lively, endearing young girl growing up in an orphanage. Her dreams of college seem in vain until the unknown benefactor offers to pay for her tuition. The only requirements are that she must write to him every month, and that she can never know who he is. Judy's letters to him about life at college are full of her hopes and dreams, troubles, and a growing friendship with the handsome Jervis Pendleton. With so much going on in her life, Judy can scarcely stop writing, and when she discovers who daddy long-legs is, there is a happily-ever-after surprise.
When Ana reviewed this book in the first place she sounded so enthusiastic I knew I was going to have to read it eventually. The library didn't have it, though, so I put it on the list to read eventually. Then, she mentioned it in her end of the year Best of... post and reminded me about it all over again. The best thing is that now I have an eReader and Gutenberg had it available. I am so happy that my memory was refreshed! I read the book in one sitting and I was so sad when it was over. I strongly believe that there is a good chance this will make my Best of... list for 2011.

This is a book that was published in 1912. It is an epistolary novel, which I tend to love, that is written really well. Jerusha Abbot is the narrator, as it is she that writes all of the letters. She is later known as Judy, but it follows her life from graduating from high school to college graduation. She finds that her dreams are about to come true because an unknown trustee is going to pay for her to be a writer. The only thing that he asks is that she writes letters periodically to tell him how she is progressing in her studies. He wishes to remain anonymous, but she does catch a glimpse of him on the day that she finds out about the deal. He tells her to address the letters to Mr. John Smith, but because he is tall and thin she starts calling him Daddy-Long Legs. It's cute and sets the tone of her letters.

This book may be playful in nature, but it is also about a young woman who has the very rare chance to have a dream and be able to fulfill it. She grew up as an orphan, but now she feels like the whole world is laid out before her. Even though she is only supposed to write letters periodically, she writes whenever the inspiration strikes her. This leads to four years of her hopes, dreams, feelings, memories, and so much more. Judy is so much fun! In Ana's review she compared her to Anne Shirley, and I have to admit that is probably one of the best comparisons you can make. That might be why I enjoyed her so much. She is naive in the same way as Anne. She has spent most of her life sheltered and doesn't entirely know the ways of the world yet.
I don't want to spoiler everything, but I have to admit that the books plot is a bit predictable. I was not surprised how things played out, but even expecting it I really enjoyed it! It was a cute book, but at the same time it had much more going on than meets the eye. I am so glad I got a chance to read this book!

Dear Enemy

This book counts for the TwentyEleven Reading Challenge.


  1. I loved this one too and also was tempted into reading it by Nymeth. :-)

  2. I love this book to bits!

    There's a sequel, that follows Sally's life as she takes over the running of Judy's orphanage--Dear Enemy. It is a bit unpleasantly dated with regard to eugenics, but otherwise an enjoyable read!

  3. I enjoyed this one too! I'm curious to read Dear Enemy now. :)

  4. I loved this one too! I also read the e-book, and my only regret is that I didn't get to see the pictures. Apparently they're awesome.

  5. Okay, I missed Ana's review first time around... But between that and yours, I'm going to have to track a copy down!

  6. Do read the sequel if you get a chance. As people have noted, the eugenics stuff is dated, but it's -- I don't know, the book is so generally silly and fun that you don't really take the eugenics stuff seriously. I love these books (in spite of their predictableness).

  7. Cath: Yes, Nymeth is a bad influence! lol

    Charlotte: I loaded the sequel onto my eReader. I just have to find time to read it. Thanks for suggesting it, though!

    Eva: I am glad you enjoyed it! I am looking forward to reading the sequel at some point.

    Memory: I didn't know about the pictures... Now I want to get the paper edition....

    Darren: It was really good! I hope you enjoy!

    Jenny: Thanks, Jenny, I have it on eReader and will hopefully get to it soon!

  8. I adore this book - I first read it as a teen and actually just did a re-read a couple of months back.

    It's so fun with a really satisfying ending.

  9. Sigh. I think I'm the only person in the world who hated this book - it made my top 5 worst books of the year!

  10. Li: That's exactly what it is, just a fun book. :)

    Amanda: I am sorry you didn't like it. I didn't even remember seeing it on your worst of list!

  11. yay! I knew you'd love it :D

  12. Nymeth: I am glad I did! Thanks for suggesting it!


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