Nicole's Reviews > Daddy-Long-Legs

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
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's review
Jul 22, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: nook-books, public-domain, fiction, z-2010, historical
Read from July 22 to 23, 2010

I found it when I stumbled across this blog, and specifically this review:
The review was so positive that, for some unknown reason (I have lots in my to-read list), I decided to check for an eBook copy. I was surprised to find that it is, in fact, a very old book and I easily found a free scan from a 1912 edition.

I'm very glad that I did. This book is charming. There's just about no other word for it. It's old-fashioned, but the story wouldn't work if it were set in any other time period. It gets a little bit predictable at the end, but by then I was so engrossed by the character of Judy that I didn't mind at all. In fact, it made me feel more optimistic about the story, in an odd kind of a way.

The story is this: Jerusha Abbott lives at an orphan asylum. She is 17 years old and treated as much like a matron as she is a ward. It turns out that most of the children leave the asylum when they're 15, but she was such a good student that she was allowed to stay until she finished school. Just before she was to be sent away, a rich benefactor discovers that she's kind of a brilliant writer and decides to send her to college to become an author. She is not told his name, but she is to write him letters at least monthly regarding her progress. All she really knows about him is that he is tall, thin, wealthy, and apparently generous.

The book is a collection of those letters and they follow her through just a little bit more than her four years of schooling. She decides she hates her name and starts to go by "Judy". She talks about her classes, about her friends, about the faux pas she makes because of her background. Her letters are interspersed with funny little drawings, which only seem to make the letters feel more authentic and adorable.

It's pretty rare that I like something as much as the reviewer did, but this book was extremely satisfying. It's short and a quick read - and available for free on There's no good reason not to read this book.

Having looked at some information about the author, several very interesting trivia bits stand out to me. Her real name was Alice (a name I'm very fond of and am proud to carry). Her grandmother worked for racial equality and women's sufferage. Her mother was Mark Twain's niece.
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