Monday, July 15, 2013

Daddy Long Legs: a review

Author: Jean Webster
Info: Hodder & Stoughton, copyright 1912, 249 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Daddy-Long-Legs is soooo not Daddy Warbucks.

Jerusha Abbott grew up in an orphanage but was sent to college by a mysterious benefactor she calls Daddy-Long-Legs. In college she falls in love with a young man who wants to marry her, but she refuses because she is an orphan. Finally, after Jerusha--now Judy--graduates, she asks to meet her benefactor.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Daddy Long Legs is told completely in one-sided letters from Jerusha to her “Mr. John Smith” the orphanage trustee who has chosen to send her to college.  Mr. Smith has chosen to remain anonymous, so Jerusha selects to call him “Daddy Long Legs” in each of her letters, creating the father figure she never had growing up.  The story is told in four parts, traveling through each year of Jerusha’s college career.

The Awesome
Judy is a spit-fire.  She's confident, independent, and spirited, just a joy to get to know through her letters.  Despite her new "fortune," she is conscious of remembering who she is and where she came from, determined not to fall prey to the traps of wealth.  In many ways she is an admirable female heroine...until you get to the not-so-awesome.

The Not So Aweome
You naive girl!  Open your eyes!  Your rich, anonymous benefactor is controlling and manipulative.  Why, my dear Judy, are you not disturbed at the end of your own story?!  Daddy Long Legs is creepy, and his motives are so iffy!  Ick.  Icky ick ick ick. 

I found the story to be a little disturbing but highly entertaining.  The letter format makes it an extremely fast-paced, and Jerusha is a genuinely likeable character.  I often pictured her much younger than she was intended to be, and the ending left me a bit speechless, but I’m glad I took the time to read it.  This gem, written in 1912, will stay with me for awhile.  Ick. :)

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