Jean Webster
Puffin Classics

     Written by Jean Webster, a niece of Mark Twain, Daddy-Long-Legs opens in the early 1900s. 17-year-old Jerusha (Judy) Abbot has lived in an orphanage her entire life. And then comes the day prim Mrs. Lippett calls Jerusha into the office with astounding news: her writing skills have attracted the attention of one of the orphanage's trustees. Sensing potential in the young girl, he decides to pay for her college education, under one condition- she must write him a letter every month, addressed to the care of "John Smith". His true identity will remain anonymous, and if he ever wishes to send her any type of message he will do so through his secretary. Judy accepts the generous, if eccentric, offer. Her letters to her benefactor, whom she affectionately calls "Daddy-Long-Legs", are funny and heartwarming.
     I adored certain aspects of this book. First, I loved the whole plot. And some of the things Judy wrote were so funny they had me laughing out loud. She was hilarious, especially when she was stressing over what her mysterious "Daddy-Long-Legs" looked like. She had imagined him perfectly- except for his hair (was it brown? gray? white? was he BALD???) and it was driving her crazy. After the first few pages, I was certain this book was going to get a ten.
     But my ecstasy was not to last. Judy's theology....was not so good. Her ideas about life and God in general were just totally off, and it REALLY detracted my enjoyment of the book. Then, near the end, Judy decides she's a socialist. Yeah. Not cool. Now, I don't want you to get the idea this book was just this huge socialist manifesto or something, because it wasn't. In all of Judy's dozens and dozens of letters, these topics only come up maybe five or six times- but I still found it rather offensive. And yet I hate to tell you to throw this book out as totally unworthy to read, because it had so many cute parts, and I loved the ending (even if I did find it a little predicable). So I guess I recommend this book, I just think Christians should be aware that there are some ideas that we may find unacceptable.

Rating: 7

P.S. This book has been dramatized several times on-screen. Two of the most famous versions? A 1930's movie starring Shirley Temple and another several years later with Fred Astaire. I'm not sure how accurate they are- I'm under the impression they aren't very- but they may be worth looking into :)


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