Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (final thoughts)
Jerusha Abbott has lived her seventeen years as a faceless orphan with a limited future, and has seemed to have accepted that. That is until an anonymous benefactor provides the means for her to attend college to become a writer. The only repayment he asks for is that she write him monthly letters, addressed to Mr. John Smith, detailing what she has been learning. But she is not to expect any kind of response from him, the letters are only meant to be a way for her to hone her writing skills. And so she sets off for school, changing her name to Judy, and relishing the college experience.
After the opening chapter explaining Judy’s predicament, the rest of the story is told through her letters to Mr. Smith. However, she decides that ‘Mr. Smith’ is a very unoriginal name, and since all she knows about him is that he’s very tall, decides to call him Daddy-Long-Legs. From the very first letter, Judy’s quirky and wonderful personality comes across clearly. She isn’t he dutiful, faceless orphan she’s presented as at the beginning of the book. She is one of the wittiest narrators I’ve come across in a long time.
I first heard of Daddy-Long-Legs over at things mean a lot and thought it would work well for the Spring 2010 Read-a-thon. I’m so glad I picked it up, I enjoyed every single moment of it. What I loved most, though, was watching Judy mature. She starts off quite childish and becomes a sophisticated woman, but never loses that spunk that made her so special to begin with.
If you haven’t yet read this delightful class, I highly recommend picking up a copy.
My rating: 8/10