Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Jerusha 'Judy' Abbott is a 17-year-old John Grier Home orphan who was given an opportunity to attend college by an anonymous sponsor. This sponsor is a Trustee of the orphanage. 

He happened upon Blue Wednesday, Judy's feisty essay mocking the system in which John Grier Home is run, and was deeply amused. The only payment he asks of Judy is a detailed letter of her personal and academic life every month.

The sole encounter with the generous mysterious man Judy recalls is from when he was leaving JGH. Strong headlights of his car driven by the chauffeur silhouetted his tall figure. This influenced her to call him Daddy-Long-Legs.

This epistolary novel first published in the early 20th century introduces a loquaciously spirited voice of a very fortunate young lady.

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My very first 'Judy Abbott' experience is the cartoons version that used to be on the television every morning. Of course, I wasn't able to follow through to the end because school started. Also, did you know that I always had this idea that the anonymous sponsor is Judy's father? I was wrong and disappointed it did not turn out that way.

Judy exudes a reckless, honest, aggressive, flawed and vivacious personality. Her letters resonates of youth that is beyond timeless. The narration seemed very authentic that I did not question once if it was really written by a teenager.

My disappointment is mainly on the fact that Judy wasn't set free by the education she received but bought for instead. I know it's a debatable and rather a detestable thought but if you think about how she ended up with a man several years her senior, a man who spoiled her lavishly, a man who tried to control her every choice... you might see my point.

The author (who happens to be the grand niece of Mark Twain, so I heard) styled the story this way, in my opinion, to portray Daddy-Long-Legs as the proverbial knight-in-shining-armor to a gritty maiden in need of someone to belong to.

Although I was taken aback with the ending, I still like it! Also, this book is considered a YA. What a cherry to our cobbler! 


9 comments:

Athira | January 16, 2014 at 4:22 AM

I quite enjoyed this book. Have you watched the movie version yet? I am hoping to check it out sometime.

Carlyn Brody | January 16, 2014 at 6:19 AM

Hi Lorraine, thanks for reading my review too. I agree that it is a pity that Judy did not get to exercise her independence more after she graduated. I always thought that the man that she ended up with never respected her. He indulged her and found her amusing but never took anything she said seriously.

Loraine | January 16, 2014 at 2:45 PM

To Athira: I actually have not! Now, i'm curious.

To Carlyn: That's a more intense way of interpreting it, "never respected her", and couldn't help but agree with you.

Arati | January 16, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Nice review! I do like your thoughts on Judy's ending up being wed rather than being an independent woman author, as befit the time period - however, have you read the sequel? It dwells more on themes of women's suffrage and tells what happens to Judy later on in life.

Thanks for your comment on my review of Daddy Long Legs - we have moved Book Weyr to www.bookweyr.com, please do visit!

Maddie Rose | January 17, 2014 at 12:52 AM

Thanks for leaving a comment on my post! I enjoyed your review of Daddy Long Legs also. I never really thought about it.... but that is sadly true. I'm sure Judy never could be spoiled, and she hopefully not allow herself to be bossed around. The second book shows a little of Judy's later life. (Dear Enemy)

Loraine | January 17, 2014 at 9:30 PM

To Arati: I will, I will. :) Thanks for dropping by!

To Maddie: I'm very curious about Dear Enemy!!! :D

vidyasbottledwishes | March 3, 2014 at 1:31 AM

Thanks for reading my review too:) With this particular book, I somehow did not want to read too much into the book from the critical angle and once this starts, one can really tear it apart - example: did he really see her as someone to truly help with education or did he have ulterior motives right from the beginning and more such questions would make me really cynical. i just wanted to focus on the positive aspects of it all. More delightful approach don't you think?:)

Loraine | March 3, 2014 at 10:25 PM

Hi vidyasbottledwishes! Your way is definitely a more delightful approach to reading. Fiction, mostly, are created for entertainment. I understand where you come from when you suggest to not take the story 'too seriously'. Be that as it may, I couldn't help it. When I read Daddy-Long-Legs, I was completely plunged-in. I'm too enthusiastic and too involved with the characters to not criticize them. Jean Webster gave us a generous man and we only have Judy's words to describe him. It was borderline satirical for the author to champion feminism or women's independence in the book because she marries off her main character to the rich old man who can finally get Judy to afford all the feathered hats she could ever want.

To end the note, I think we all have our own ways to enjoy a book. Especially a good one like Daddy-Long-Legs. And anyway, I can only truly admit that I enjoyed a book when I reach a personal-emotional judgment about it. It is what runs this blog.

Kathy | December 14, 2014 at 4:34 AM

Hi Loraine! I finally had a chance to come read your post! (You commented on my Daddy-Long-Legs post nearly a year ago.) :) I enjoyed reading what you wrote!

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