Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Dear Enemy" by Jean Webster

When I read Daddy-Long-Legs for the first time last year, someone told me that they liked the sequel, Dear Enemy, even better.  I don't remember anymore who that was, but I thought to myself, "That's silly.  How could anyone possibly like another book better than Daddy-Long-Legs?"

Well, turns out I was the silly one.  Because I liked Dear Enemy better myself.

While Daddy-Long-Legs focuses on a girl growing up into a young woman, Dear Enemy focuses on a young woman growing from being shallow and frivolous into useful and capable.  Judy from DLL asks her college friend Sallie to take over running the John Grier Home (orphanage) that Judy grew up in -- just for a year, until they find someone to manage it permanently.  Sallie goes from finding this kind of a diverting exercise in chasing away boredom to being wholeheartedly devoted to caring for a hundred children and making their lives better.

And while a person's journey to adulthood tends to interest me, a person's journey from self-centered to devoted to caring for others fascinates and inspires me.  No wonder I loved this book!  Toss in a crusty Scottish doctor and lots of laugh-out-loud funny adventures and yup, I was hooked good.

Particularly Good Bits:

Has he committed some remorseful crime, or is his taciturnity due merely to his natural Scotchness?  he's as companionable as a granite tombstone! (p. 141)

I can now sleep through the night without being afraid that my babies are being inefficiently murdered (p. 149).

The more I study men, the more I realize that they are nothing in the world but big boys grown too big to be spankable (p. 215).

You never know what is going on in a perfectly respectable-looking child's pocket (p. 241).

Isn't it funny how the nicest men often choose the worst wives, and the nicest women the worst husbands?  Their very niceness, I suppose, makes them blind and unsuspicious (p. 265).

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Clean and sweet and fresh and fun.

This is my 25th book read and reviewed for The Classics Club.  I'm halfway done!!!

20 comments:

  1. Oh!! I LOVE this book! Heehee. Was I the one who told you that? Because I've always liked Dear Enemy better then Daddy Long Legs-even though that was such a good book, too.
    I recently re-read this and fell in love with it all over again. I love everything about it-Sallie, her character development, the doctor, the children, the humor-and the fact that she goes about "reforming" an orphanage is gold. It's so unique and fun!
    I'm so happy you reviewed it! :)

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    1. Natalie, it might have been you! I don't remember anymore. I really just adore both these books, and can't believe it took me this long to read them. I gushed so much about DLL that my mom got her book club to read it, and she loved it too, which I find awesome :-)

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    2. Oh yay! Isn't it so much fun when you "convert" other people to love the same stories you do? :D Now you make me want to re-read DDL!

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    3. Yes, Natalie! I absolutely love it when that happens :-D

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  2. I didn't know "Daddy-Long-Legs" HAD a sequel- will have to track it down.

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  3. Oh my goodness! I read Daddy-Long-Legs for the first time about a month ago and fell completely in LOVE with it! Read it again just the other day. :) And now you tell me there's a sequel?? Be still my heart! Just ordered. ;) Thanks so much for sharing this, and for the great review!

    ~Amber

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    1. Amber, how exciting! I actually didn't even know these books existed until a year or so ago, and I am so glad to have finally read them. I hope you enjoy it!

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  4. I've never heard of this one, but, Yay! Half way through your CC list.

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    1. Thanks, Ruth! I'm excited to be half way. And this is a really fun, quick, joyous read.

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  5. Really?!! I personally much preferred Daddy Long Legs. :-) I should try 'Dear Enemy' again - t'is been quite a long time. :-) But still, nothing can beat Daddy Long Legs. Nope, not possible. :-)

    ~ Naomi

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    1. Naomi, like I said, the themes and situation in this one pushed a lot more of my buttons than DLL, so that's a lot of why I liked this one better.

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  6. I remember when I first bought Daddy Long Legs on a whim thinking Eva-Joy might like it. I read it first and loved it. I think Eva-Joy wouldn't read it though until someone else recommended it. ;) I loved the sequel which Eva-Joy found. I too love seeing people change and grow as human beings.

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    1. Jennifer, you and Eva-Joy sound a lot like me and my mom when I was a teen. I was very set on Discovering Things For Myself. It wasn't until I was out of college that I realized/admitted that when my mom predicted I would enjoy a book, I generally did. (That's not to say we have identical taste in books, because we definitely do not, but she knows pretty well which of the books she reads I would dig and which I wouldn't.)

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    2. It can be very frustrating. I've done just about everything except bow down to her trying to get her to read "The Blue Castle" - my favourite LM Montgomery book. So I'm hoping your review will inspire her. :)

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    3. Jennifer, I have the same problem with Sam. If I tell him, "I love this book!" he turns up his nose. If I just say, "See if you like this," then he's much more likely to try it, and after he likes it, he's fine with me saying I love it too. Sigh.

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  7. I loved Daddy Long Legs. :) my aunt told me Dear Enemy was pretty good, too, but I never read it. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Hello, Hibernator! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you can find this some time and try it too, since you love DLL. Even if you don't like this one as well, it's nice to learn about what Judy is up to after the end of DLL!

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  8. Aw, yay! I'm so glad you loved this one too!! Sallie is so delightful, isn't she? Watching her grow to love every single bit of her job is lovely. And as always with these books, no matter how often I read this one or DLL, I always, always, always laugh.

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    1. Kara, yes, I loved seeing the character growth. I rooted for her whole-heartedly. And laughed aloud over and over!

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