PurplyCookie's Reviews > Daddy-Long-Legs

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
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Nov 28, 09

bookshelves: classics, personal-faves, young-adult, 1st-in-a-series, book-series, coming-of-age
Read in September, 2009, read count: 2

Jerusha Abbott has grown up in the John Grier Home for orphans. As the oldest, she is in charge of the younger children. An anonymous benefactor on the Board, "Mr. Smith," decides to send her to college, as long as she writes to him faithfully detailing her education. Originally published in 1912, Jean Webster's coming-of-age tale continues to be relevant to young women today. While some experiences and circumstances are dated, the emotions and life situations of Judy are timeless. Judy is an outspoken woman in a time when women didn't even have the right to vote; she is a socialist, a reformer, and an author.

Through a series of letters Jerusha writes to "Daddy-Long-Legs," a relationship filled with affection and respect develops, even though she is the only correspondent throughout the years. She calls him "Daddy-Long-Legs" because she saw his tall shadow as he left the building. The writing is entertaining, intelligent and always realistic. That is exactly how a person in their late teens to early twenties writes and it is so refreshing to read an author who knows what she is talking about on the subject.

Although the narrative unfolds slowly, the language is sophisticated, highly descriptive, and witty. This tale will appeal to listeners who revel in rich, detailed imagery to present a character wholly believable and likable.

Here are a couple of quotes from the book that I loved:

"Half of the time I don't know what they're talking about; their jokes seem to relate to a past that everyone but me has shared. I'm a foreigner in the world and I don't understand the language." This is the realization of Judy upon stumbling into the college world and leaving her orphan home behind.

"It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh--I really think that requires spirit."

"It's different with me than with other girls. They can take things naturally from people. They have fathers and brothers and aunts and uncles; but I can't pretend to be on such relations with anyone. I like to pretend that you belong to me, just to play with the idea, but of course I know you don't. I'm alone, really--with my back to the wall fighting the world--and I get sort of gaspy when I think about it."

"I'm going to enjoy every second, and I'm going to know I'm enjoying it while I'm enjoying it. Most people don't live; they just race. They are trying to reach some goal far away on the horizon, and in the heat of the going they get so breathless and panting that they lose sight of the beautiful, tranquil country they are passing through; and then the first thing they know, they are old and worn out, and it doesn't make any difference whether they've reached the goal or not."

The ending is marvelous with a great little twist. I think this book is great for girls 8-80 years old and am sorry I did not read it sooner.


Book Details:

Title Daddy-Long-Legs
Author Jean Webster
Reviewed By Purplycookie
4 likes · Likeflag

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Quotes PurplyCookie Liked

Jean Webster
“It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh - I really think that requires spirit.
It's the kind of character that I am going to develop. I am going to pretend that all life is just a game which I must play as skillfully and fairly as I can. If I lose, I am going to shrug my shoulders and laugh - also if I win.”
Jean Webster, Daddy Long Legs


Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Great review, Purplycookie. I recently added this to my to read list.


PurplyCookie Thanks! I couldn't recommend this book highly enough! A book that's definitely for keeps

Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Great review, Purplycookie. I recently added this to my to read list."




message 3: by Rauf (new)

Rauf to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh--I really think that requires spirit.

And how.


PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my book review, Rose!


PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my book review, Linda! :)


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