Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Summary (Amazon) 

“A trustee of the John Grier orphanage has offered to send Judy Abbott to college. The only requirements are that she must write to him every month and that she can never know who he is. Judy’s life at college is a whirlwind of friends, classes, parties and a growing friendship with the handsome Jervis Pendleton. With so much happening in her life, Judy can scarcely stop writing to ‘Daddy-Long-Legs’, or wondering who her mysterious benefactor is…”


First published in 1912, Daddy Long-Legs is a lovely story of a girl named Jerusha Abbott raised in an orphanage who is chosen by a mysterious benefactor to attend college at his expense. The only requirement is that she write him each month. Judy writes more than required, as she views “Daddy Long-Legs” (a nickname she chose because she one saw his shadow) as her only family. She writes to him as her friend, confidant, and as a diary in some aspects.

We see Judy grow from a college freshman to a girl who earns a diploma, writing and earning money of her own along the way by selling her stories. She writes to DLL about the girls she dorms with, everyday frivolities that she is discovering, and life on campus. The reader feels her joy as she discovers authors and great books, while she is introduced to things everyone else sees as routine are completely new to her. Her undeniable spirit is contagious and I found myself loving her and wanting her to succeed.

We see Judy learn through reading. Part of her education comes in the form of picking up a book, many books, and this was a lovely reminder of the importance of READING.

Jean Webster did a fantastic job writing a book in the style of writing letters. This doesn’t always work- like an artist whom paints a picture of a picture, or a photograph of a photograph. The book left me completely satisfied, and yes we do find out who Daddy Long-Legs is! I myself figured it out on my own, about halfway through the book.

Lovely, charming, heart-warming and a book that you should read at least once!



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