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Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
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Daddy-Long-Legs (1912)

by Jean Webster (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Daddy-Long-Legs (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,911613,583 (4.14)197
  1. 60
    Dear Enemy by Jean Webster (kathleen.morrow)
    kathleen.morrow: The sequel to Daddy Long Legs, featuring Sally's adventures at an orphan asylum
  2. 40
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (mybookshelf)
    mybookshelf: Both are classic stories about unusual young women who enjoy writing.
  3. 30
    Carney's House Party: A Deep Valley Story by Maud Hart Lovelace (Bjace)
    Bjace: Partially set at Vassar. Also a story about college friendships.
  4. 20
    A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (Hollerama)
  5. 10
    Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (charl08)
    charl08: Similar epistolary format, although with very different results!
  6. 10
    When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster (Bjace, Hollerama)
    Bjace: Patty is a fun but less responsible version of Judy Abbott. Both of these are college stories probably set at Vassar.
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» See also 197 mentions

English (56)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (61)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
A coming of age story about a young orphan girl who meets her benefactor and soul mate.
I did not believe that Jerusha was dependent on her benefactor, Daddy Long Legs. Jerusha was an independent woman. Her love of Daddy Long Legs, comes from her desire to belong to a family. He became her entire family; her grandmother, her uncle, her father, all rolled into one. Her love for him was based not only this, but also for his generosity to her. He had given her a way out of the drudgery her life was, in the asylum. Who wouldn’t be grateful and loving to such a person? ‘I love college and I love you for sending me.’

Jerusha proved, that by accepting a Trustee’s gift of a college education, anything more than that, would make her dependent, and she was not comfortable with this.
Jerusha received a $50.00 check from Daddy Long Legs, after she had written to him about the lovely hats Julia bought. This check was unacceptable to Jerusha. She knew she was a charity case, and although she was able to accept the allowance and college funding from him, this was above and beyond. Especially since Jerusha had intended to pay him back, everything he had given her. ‘Id love pretty hats and things, but I mustn't mortgage the future to pay for them.’ The check was returned to him.

Jerusha shows her independence by following her judgement, in accepting the scholarship she was awarded. The scholarship would cover board and tuition for two years. Jerusha won it for marked proficiency in English. Her benefactor conveyed to her, not to accept it. “I don’t understand your objection in the least. But anyway, it won’t do the slightest good for you to object, for I’ve already accepted it and I am not going to change!” She further communicates her independence as she writes, ‘don’t be annoyed because your chick is wanting to scratch for herself. She’s growing up into an awfully energetic little hen - with a very determined cluck and lot of beautiful feathers (all due to you).’ She is telling him that she is developing her own mind and can make important decisions on her own, thanks to her maturity, and her education.

Jerusha’s mind was also made up when she wrote Daddy Long Legs, about her spending the summer at the seaside with Mrs. Paterson, to tutor her daughter. She would be earning fifty dollars a month. She did not give him the chance to object, because her mind was set. In this instance, she was going to earn money, just as she had when she won the scholarship. She was realizing her potential, and that she could pay back some of the charity, given to her. She was also demonstrating that she had free will. ‘How does my program strike you, Daddy? I am getting quite independent, you see. You have put me on my feet and I think I can almost walk alone by now.’
( )
  Spiritus3 | Apr 7, 2015 |
I couldn't shake the feeling that I was reading a shoujo manga novelization. We all know going into this that Judy will marry her patriarchal patron and it is all a bit creepy, but her character is so engaging, sympathetic, and amusing that you enjoy reading it anyway. ( )
  endlesserror | Nov 25, 2014 |
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster is a hundred year old epistolary novel about a young woman getting a chance to follow her dreams because of the sponsorship of an unnamed benefactor. The story follows Jershua "Judy" Abbott through her college education and the early days of her career as a writer.

I come to the book, though, through the 1955 film adaptation staring Fred Astaire as the titular character and Leslie Caron as Judy (renamed Julie for the movie). While the gist of the film is the same as the book: older man provides money for a younger woman's college education — the set up is completely different and more troubling. At the time the film was made, Fred Astaire was more than twice Leslie Caron's age. Although he plays a young-at-heart character (one enamored with rock and roll drumming), he is still clearly old enough to be her father.

So it was with an uneasy curiosity that I read Jean Webster's book.

The differences between the film and original source material are immediately apparent. First and foremost — the setting is domestic. Judy, though still an orphan, has been raised in the United States. She is not an exotic — post WWII French teacher of French orphans. She is, instead, an American contemporary with LM Montgomery's Anne Shirley. Judy's experience at the orphanage and her sponsorship into an American university, is therefore, recognizable and credible — something the film version can't pull off.

In the film, there is a heavy dose of voyeurism of the dirty old man variety as Julie's benefactor befriends her under false pretenses and otherwise keeps an eye on her. Of course voyeurism is part and parcel of film story telling but it's clearly at odds here with the source material. In the book, Judy and Jervys (changed to Jervis in the film), do meet and become friends, as he keeps up the secret identity as her benefactor. But their meeting is circumstantial and as he's significantly closer in age to her (late twenties/early thirties to her late teens/early twenties), it is far more plausible that she and he would become more than just friends.

Judy's letters are written in a believable, charming voice that rings true a century later — and I suspect well into the next century. Along with her quirky turns of phrase are drawings, little sketches that Judy sometimes sends along in her missives. They too add to the overall appeal of the novel.

Keeping all those thoughts in mind, I adore the novel. It is delightful. Anyone who loves LM Montgomery's books or anyone who is a fan of Louise Rennison's books, will enjoy Daddy-Long-Legs. ( )
  pussreboots | Nov 18, 2014 |
Lovely easy read ( )
  JazMinderr | Jul 31, 2014 |
This is my first kindle novel, it was free and the only book that interested me, mainly because I'd seen the Fred Astair film, I didn't know it was a book. I loved it, and wish I'd come across it years ago. An easy enjoyable read, I'd recommend it to anyone.
Judy was a likeable heroine, a bit like Anne in Anne of Green Gables. ( )
  MsStephie | Jul 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Webster, JeanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ardizzone, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boveri, MargretTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haapanen-Tallgren, TyyniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ibbotson, EvaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kliphuis, J.J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Korthals Altes, AlisonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mac Neill, JoanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munsching, Annie vanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schreuder, H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tholema, A.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Veen, H.R.S. van derEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful Day--a day to be awaited with dread, endured with courage and forgotten with haste.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This entry is for the book Daddy-Long-Legs, first published in 1912. Please do not combine with the 1919 Mary Pickford film, the 1931 Janet Gaynor/Warner Baxter film, or the 1955 Fred Astaire/Leslie Caron film.
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All sorts of things begin to happen when an orphaned boarding school student finally meets the wealthy guardian with whom she has corresponded for years sight unseen.

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