Daddy Long Legs
50 Installments—Entirely free
The unusually-named protagonist Jerusha Abbott spent her life in an orphanage, the John Grief home for children, where the orphans are supported by charitable donations. One of the matrons picked Jerusha’s first name off of a gravestone, and her last name was picked out of the phone book. At age 18, Jerusha has nowhere to go and no future plans besides working at the orphanage where she was raised—until the goodness of an anonymous man changes her life. One of the trustees decides to pay for her to attend college and become a writer, but this financial boon comes with conditions: Jerusha must write monthly letters to him, but he will not write back in order to keep his identity a secret. All that she knows about him is that he is tall and long-legged, having caught a glimpse of him from the back one day. When she enrolls in college, she changes her name to “Judy” and begins authoring a series of witty, entertaining letters, which form the text that we read. Immersed in a world of literature and culture, Judy relishes her exposure to a life she had never even dreamed about, but at the same time she is painfully aware of her poverty, both economically and culturally. While at school, she meets the wealthy Jervis Pendleton, but their romance is plagued by her feelings of shame about her humble origins. Daddy Long Legs concludes its engaging coming-of-age story with a final plot twist that will surprise and entertain you.
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Jean Webster (1876-1916) was born into a liberal New York family who prided themselves on their outspoken participation in many political and social causes. Webster grew up in an atmosphere of writing and publishing; her mother was related to author Mark Twain, and her father was a successful publisher for many years. Webster attended boarding school, followed by university at Vassar College in New York, where she studied literature and economics, and volunteered in needy neighborhoods around the city. In 1903, Webster published her first novel, When Patty Went to College, which was based on her own experiences at a women’s college. The novel was embraced by readers and critics, and Webster went on to write short stories and novels, among them Jerry Junior, Much Ado About Peter, Just Patty, and The Four Pools Mystery. Webster’s most famous work, Daddy Long-Legs, was published in 1911. Daddy Long-Legs became so popular that Webster adapted it for the stage, and the play was performed in cities across the United States. After marrying her longtime love, Glenn Ford McKinney, Webster tragically died just after giving birth to a daughter in 1916. Her writing, sometimes controversial in nature, stands out as a testament to the mind and imagination of early twentieth-century America.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
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. Every floor must be spotless, every chair dustless, and every bed without a wrinkle. Ninety-seven squirming little orphans must be scrubbed and combed and ...Back to top
Reviewed by cuiblemorgan on Dec 15, 2009
Good read epistolary style
Epistolary style made for a good format for segmented reading. A bit sappy, in the nature of early 20th century, stories for teens, but still a good read. Reminded me of Gene Stratton-Porter's A Girl of the Limberlost.
Reviewed by books on Jul 27, 2008
Not about spiders!
This book, while the title may have you think otherwise, is a about a young girl, school, and a romance. The ending is cheerful, and the plot suspenseful at times. The references to some things are a little unknown, due to the book's age, but it's a great and fun classic.
The girl leads a charmed life, although extremely realistic. She struggles with pride (not wanting charity), school, and all the other normal things.
While this book may not intrigue you as much as the newest episode of the CW's Gossip Girl or another popular television show, I suggest giving this book a chance and turning off the TV. In this new era, exciting often means illegal. This book embodies good and old-fashioned, classic and happy.
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Ratings for 'Daddy Long Legs' by Webster, Jean