Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thoughts: Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Like Anne of Green Gables, I first encountered the anime adaptation of Daddy-Long-Legs, and didn’t find out it was a book until many years later. I came across a ton of reviews that compared Daddy-Long-Legs to Anne of Green Gables, so I really had to see for myself.

Daddy-Long-Legs is about an orphan named Jerusha Abbott who prefers to call herself Judy. A board member of the orphanage Judy is staying in notices her, and offers to pay for her college education—including her board, allowance, basically everything. The rest of the novel tells Judy’s adventures in college, especially as she becomes acquainted with Jervis Pendleton.

I recently read Anne of Green Gables, so I guess it’s unavoidable that I’d compare Judy to Anne. They were both orphans who did well in school. Both love literature, are frank, and have wild imaginations. The difference is that I loved Anne from the very beginning, while I felt an overwhelming urge to slap Judy with a hardbound book most of the time. Judy did grow on me, though, in the last couple of chapters, but she's ridiculously annoying in the beginning. I couldn’t even believe she was eighteen, because she acted like a twelve-year-old.

Funny enough, I liked the setting of Daddy-Long-Legs more than Judy herself. I found the experiences of a 1910s college girl very interesting. I guess, at the time, everybody must have been talking about women’s suffrage, and I felt that the author expressed her views on the subject quite clearly in the book. There were also little details, like how most of the girls in Judy’s school grew up with Little Women. I loved that.

I liked Daddy-Long-Legs, especially the ending, but that was it. I thought Dadd-Long-Legs’ identity was predictable, and that spoiled the book a bit for me. It would have been more fun if I kept guessing. So, a little MEH on this one.

Rating: 3/5

6 comments:

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I've never even heard of this book, I'm afraid. Like you, I'm a big fan of Anne of Green Gables (books AND movie) and I would be drawn to this story & time period. Now, thanks to your review, I might skip it if it crosses my path in the future.

Audra said...

Oh, wow -- this is one of those books I've heard of now and then and always forget about when thinking of/looking for classic YA fiction -- I might have to give this a try. The setting is what seems most appealing to me!

Trisha said...

I actually laughed out loud at the "slap Judy with a hardbound book" line. My husband gave me the "you are so crazy" look at that point. :) I have this one on my nook for reading at some point in the future...

Tiny Library said...

I've never even heard of this one ...

Zibilee said...

I ordered this book for my Kindle because it was free, and because I had been hearing some great things about the author and her work. I am not so sure if I will read it now, as I really hate annoying characters, and it sounds like Judy might just be a little to twee for me!

Kristi said...

I loved this book. I see what you mean about being annoyed by her, but I thought she was pretty funny. The drawings were my favorite part. I do think she acted more like she was 12 rather than 18.

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