Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Daddy-Long-Legs" by Jean Webster

Put this at the top of the list of books I started reading with a ho-hum attitude and wound up absolutely loving.  Lots and lots of bloggers have recommended this to me over the past couple of years, so when I saw it on the shelf in the Junior Fiction section at the library, I decided to try it.  But I wasn't sure at all that I would like it.

At first, I thought it was cutesy.  And, let's be honest:  the idea behind it is cutesy.  An orphan gets sent to college by an anonymous benefactor who pays her way on the condition that she write him regular letters detailing her progress.  Pretty far-fetched and, well, quaint.  But that orphan, Jerusha "Judy" Abbott, won the hearts of her benefactor and yours truly with her buoyant worldview and wonder-filled description of life outside the orphanage at last.  She was sarcastic, yet sweet; studious, yet playful.  I've been enchanted, I tell you.

I did see the plot twist of sorts coming, and was a little annoyed at first that Jerusha didn't.  But then I realized that if I was in her position, I would be like, "No way.  That could never happen.  It would be too big a coincidence."  So I figure that's what she thought.

I found a copy of the sequel, Dear Enemy, at the thrift store, so I'm hoping to start that before too terribly long.

First Line:  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.


Particularly Good Bits:  


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 (p. 49).

But aren't the streets entertaining?  And the people?  And the shops?  I never saw such lovely things as there are in the windows.  It makes you want to devote your life to wearing clothes (p. 87).

PS.  This is one of those wicked anonymous letters you read about in novels (p. 130).


If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Clean and light and fun.


This is my sixteenth book read and reviewed for the Classics Club and my seventeenth for the I Love Library Books challenge.

12 comments:

  1. Was this used as the basis for the Fred Astaire movie of the same name, with (I think) Leslie Caron?

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    1. Yup, though I haven't seen the movie.

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  2. This book is so great. There's a stage musical based on it, too, which is really enjoyable as well. :)

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    1. A musical AND a movie? Wowzers! It deserves it, though -- completely adorable book. I'm asking for a copy for Christmas.

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  3. Isn't it fun when you discover a book that you think won't live up to your expectations and then it exceeds them? I have this one on my shelves and have been meaning to read it for years. Thanks for the reminder and the great review! :-)

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    1. It is a really fast read -- grab some hot chocolate on a free afternoon and curl up for a few hours with it. I hope you like it as well as I did!

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  4. Heehee, I never really realised you have this blog for book reviews, so I kept on going to your main blog looking for this review!!! I'm glad I found it though, as I'm delighted with your review. That phrase 'It makes you want to devote your life to wearing clothes' made me laugh out loud when I read it, because it's what I think sometimes, in secret, heehee. Great review -- makes me want to read it again! Which is not a bad idea, actually. I think I shall. :-)

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    1. Oops! Yes, I have multiple blogs. I'm glad you found this post at last! Sorry if that was a bit difficult.

      I thought that line about clothes was hilarious too, especially because I have never been tempted to devote my life to wearing clothes, but I know people who I think have been, lol.

      Enjoy your reread!

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  5. Yay! I am SO happy you liked it, Hamlette! It's one of my favorites and as much as I love it and recommend it, I'm always a bit worried that my friends won't like it. So I am beyond pleased to know that you enjoyed it. :)

    And you hit the nail on the head exactly. The beauty of this story is Judy. Her worldview, her personality, her joy and excitement, it's all very contagious and fun. It certainly wouldn't be half the story it is if she weren't who she is!

    Dear Enemy is quite fun as well. But I do think Sallie isn't quite as unforgettable as Judy. I will be anxious to hear what you think of that one! :)

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    1. :-D I must admit that this came so highly recommended I was a little afraid to read it, for fear that it didn't live up to everyone's praise. How splendid that it far surpassed my expectations!

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  6. I don't know why, but I've read at least 3 reviews of this book on my Blogger reading list in the last few weeks. And I must say I'm very curious about it now and will put it high on my reading list for next year (if I ever do get time for reading again, which doesn't feel like it now...)

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    1. Isn't it funny whens something crops up over and over like that? Especially if you've never heard of it before, and then suddenly, it's everywhere. Anyway, I really loved this book, so I hope you do too! Whenever you may get to it :-)

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