Daddy-Long-Legs Book Review
Author: Jean Webster
Series: kind of the sequel, Dear Enemy, takes place in the same world but not with our protagonist.
When I first saw this book, it was sitting sadly on the shelf at the library. The front cover was particularly boring featuring an ambiguously aged girl sitting with a pen and paper half smiling out of a window. Then I thought, “Daddy-Long-Legs? Really? What is this, the true life story of Little Miss Muffet?” So, being the strange ol’ bird that I am, I checked the book out.
You know the old saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover?” It totally applies here. Daddy-Long-Legs was a great read. With only 185 pages, I inhaled the books in a couple of hours. Two words: page turner.
First published in 1912, Daddy-Long-Legs tell the story of an orphan named Jerusha aka Judy who gets sent to college anonymously by a man who donates to the orphanage. This mystery benefactor will pay for her tuition, books, food, clothes and any and all incidentals along the way. Judy is told that she can attend school without fear of being indebted to him, but on two conditions.
- Judy must write a letter to him every month until she graduates knowing full well that he will never write her back.
- She cannot know who her benefactor is.
At first I was worried when I realized that all but the first ten pages were written in a letter format. Yet, this style never got stale. Judy’s letters were so detailed that while reading, I forgot that there wasn’t any actual dialogue. The letters are also pretty funny especially when she is angry about something. Also, the book gets its title from the way Judy begins nearly all of her letters: “Dear Daddy-Long-Legs.” She calls him this because at the orphanage, she was got a glimpse of his leggy shadow.
Another worry I had, was the book’s publish date because I hate reading a book and experiencing some type of language barrier. (For example, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere; it’s good but the British slang is confusing. I guess I don’t watch enough BBC.) Luckily, I didn’t have to deal with that one bit. It’s almost as if Jean Webster debuted this book yesterday! The diction sounds current if not a more polite way of speaking. You wouldn’t even realize that this took place in yester-year if it weren’t for the cost of things being so little back then. The story also has interesting twists and turns like Judy falling in love with her roommate young uncle, school dances, vacations with wealthy friends and potential boyfriends.
So, I’ve concluded that I love this book and I stand behind it all the way. I mean, if the only thing I don’t like about it is the outside cover, it’s great! If you read this and decided you want more, films have been made in the US (several times), Korea and Japan as recent as 2005. There are even anime and stage versions that have been created. I haven’t seen all of them yet, but I will say that the Fred Astaire film is great, but has some very bizarre sequences that are literally excuses to have him dance.
If this book interests you, check out the links below to experience it for yourself!