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Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
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Daddy-Long-Legs (original 1912; edition 1985)

by Jean Webster

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,306843,939 (4.12)231
Member:foggidawn
Title:Daddy-Long-Legs
Authors:Jean Webster
Info:Bantam (1985), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Special collection: Vintage books
Rating:****
Tags:JFIC, feisty heroine, orphans, epistolary, read pre-lt, read april 2010, read october 2017, stamped

Work details

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (1912)

  1. 70
    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
    When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster (Bjace, HollyMS)
    Bjace: Patty is a fun but less responsible version of Judy Abbott. Both of these are college stories probably set at Vassar.
  5. 20
    A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (HollyMS)
  6. 10
    Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (charl08)
    charl08: Similar epistolary format, although with very different results!
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» See also 231 mentions

English (77)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
I never read this as a kid, but I remember a friend carrying it around with her a lot. @foggidawn reviewed it a little while ago, bringing it back to my attention, and it sounded like fun. I loved it and got very caught up in all the little details of women's college life in the 1910s. The identity of the "mysterious" Daddy-Long-Legs seemed very obvious to me, though I rather suspect I might not have thought so if I had read this when I was ~nine. While some of the story is a bit dated, very little terribly much bothered my modern sensibilities, especially as I think Jersuha would have been a fairly forward-thinking and "modern" woman in her time. ( )
  lycomayflower | Oct 8, 2017 |
Seventeen-year-old Jerusha Abbott has spent her entire life at the John Grier Home, an orphanage. When one of the trustees takes an interest in her (due to a humorous but unflattering essay on visiting day at the orphanage) and decides to send her to college. He elects to remain anonymous; all Jerusha knows is that he is tall (she caught a glimpse of him silhouetted in the doorway on his way out), rich, and has only ever sponsored the education of boys before. One of the conditions of her education is that she is to write him monthly letters on her progress, with the understanding that he will not respond in any way. This book comprises that one-way correspondence, and readers will soon find themselves charmed by Jerusha's youthful exuberance and zest for life. But will she ever discover the identity of her mysterious benefactor?

Some aspects of this book are indicative of its time, but all in all, I think it holds up pretty well. I know of readers who are bothered by certain aspects of the book, particularly the ending, but I find I don't mind them, even on a second reading. All in all, I found it a pleasant, quick reread, and will probably read it again at some time in the future. ( )
  foggidawn | Oct 2, 2017 |
I first read this book when I was about eight or nine years old, and I loved it from the start. The whole "writing letters" method of storytelling has always appealed to me since, and I really blame (or give credit) this book for that, because Judy comes so alive in her letters. We don't see her "in action" after the first chapter in the book, but that doesn't matter, because her letters are so funny and heartfelt. And the other characters, whom we never "see" outside of her letters, come alive as well: Sallie, Julia, Jervie, and even Daddy-Long-Legs, from whom we hear so little.

Rarely a year goes by when I don't skim through this book. I usually read the first chapter (when Judy is still in the orphanage and gets her scholarship from a benevolent trustee) and read some of the more meaningful (to me) letters, and then I turn to the back and read the last six or so letters. Without fail, even though I have done this almost annually for almost thirty years, I still get the "awwww" fuzzies at the end. Just reading those last few letters can snap me out of a bad funk.

I've seen people online say that they wish that they could read Harry Potter for the first time again, without knowing what is going to happen. Harry Potter's an okay series (although I never got obsessed with it like so many have), but forget it - I'd rather be able to read this book again for the first time! I remember when I read it for the first time, I was SO SURPRISED that Jervie was Daddy-Long-Legs. I may have squealed a bit on the bus. Don't judge me. Although it's great to go through the book and watch Judy mention Jervie multiple times (giving Jervie the hint that she returns his feelings, which I'm not sure he would have had had if she hadn't spilled out her heart in her letters to her Daddy-Long-Legs), it'd be amazing to go into this book not knowing and see if I'd figure it out as an adult.

Child-me would have given this book five stars without question. Adult-me gives it four and a half. This book was written in a different world, really, one that was only a hundred years ago! It's hard to believe how much has changed since then. Judy is talking about women needing the right to vote and how, if she marries, it's rather expected that she gives up aspirations for a career, although she sees that it might be possible to have both a husband and a career. Jervie is a socialist (which is all kinds of YAY, because blatant socialists almost never appear in books, at least as "good" characters) and a social reformer. He is quite hot-headed and demanding, which is one of the reasons why I lower the book half a star. He has a tendency to be rash and even insulting (at one point he calls Judy a "child" because she is trying to do the RESPONSIBLE thing and work for the summer instead of going to Europe). And Judy freely admits that she molds her personal opinions to fit his, which...rubs me wrong. I try to tell myself that it was a different time. Yes. And it may be a little creepy to have Jervie reading all of these letters to him, letters in which Judy is frank about her emotions in a way that he would never have known had he not been the recipient. It's weird reading her describe him to him, all without her knowing. It almost feels like an invasion of her privacy, like he should have let her know that he didn't want to hear about her love life (he's a bit brusque with her a few other times, so I think this would have fit his "Daddy-Long-Legs" character).

I still love me some Jervie/Judy, though. That ending letter. Yum.


Besides the stuff under the spoiler cut, I guess my only other real complaint is that this book is too short! I'd love for it to be at least four times longer than it is, perhaps supplemented with letters from Judy to other characters (she mentions that she's writing to both Freddie and Jervie, and I would KILL to read some of her letters with Jervie back and forth) or third-person chapters (like the first one) showing what they're doing. I'd love for more Jervie/Judy scenes; I will not lie. But, alas, it's not meant to be, and I really don't care all that much for the "sequel," Dear Enemy, so...yeah. I'll just fill out the story in my mind. ;) ( )
  schatzi | Aug 19, 2017 |
A sweet, simple, shortish, epistolary novel, documenting the college days of Jerusha Abbott after her childhood in an orphanage. Jean Webster's writing style is accessible and entertaining, capturing the spirit and character of the teenaged protagonist perfectly. The dénouement wasn't a huge surprise, but might have been if I'd read this as a child. ( )
  AJBraithwaite | Aug 14, 2017 |
I love this book. I've read it a dozen times, maybe more, and was bereft when I couldn't find it in my stacks recently. So when it was a freebie through Early Bird Books, I jumped at the chance to have a digital copy at least. Though I admit i approached it with trepidation last night. I'd just finished a book I didn't really care much for, and after rereading A Wrinkle in Time and finding that it didn't really live up to my memories, I feared that I might be setting myself up for more disappointment.

And in fact, there was one, which I will discuss later in the review. But the story itself? Still captivating. The characters, all seen through the eyes of the narrator, Judy Abbott, are both amusing and quite human. She -- Judy/Jean Webster -- has an eye for human silliness, but a forgiving one. It's a humane book that made me smile and gave me some warm fuzzies when I needed them.

It's the story of an orphan who is sent to college by an anonymous benefactor on the condition that she writes him one letter a month to let him see how she's progressing. But Judy, who has been an orphan since babyhood, and was raised in an orphanage, is hungry for some kind of familial contact, so she creates a kind of grandfather/father/uncle figure in her mind, and addresses her benefactor as "Daddy Long-Legs," since all she knows about his is that he's tall and wealthy.

Her letters are warm, rich, and amusing, and it's easy to fall in love with a girl who is in the process of falling in love with the whole world, a world she couldn't even imagine growing up as she did. I could read Judy's adventures all day, and recommend this book as a balm to treat weltschmerz. Five stars for the story.

Alas, three stars for the Open Road Media Young Readers version. The original is filled with charming drawings, but Open Road didn't include any of them. Or rather, they included exactly ONE. Why they chose to do that is beyond me. It's either weird or it's sloppy, but that one illustration really irritated me. I wasn't happy that all the rest were gone, but had there been some consistency I'd have shrugged and thought "Oh well." But including one of them meant that including them all wouldn't have been a problem, and they just decided not to bother.

So I'm happy to have the text, but I would recommend a different digital version. ( )
  Tracy_Rowan | Aug 11, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Webster, Jeanprimary 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
Lenz, SusanneEditorsecondary 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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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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Available online at The Hathi Trust:
https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Search/...

Also available at The Internet Archive:
https://archive.org/search.php?query=d...

Also available at Project Gutenberg:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/40426...
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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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