When I was gifted Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster, I thought that I might not be very entertained by a children’s book written over a century ago. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that the book makes an interesting read and makes one smile at regular intervals.
The book is composed of a series of letters (“epistolary novel” is the phrase) written by an orphan Jerusha “Judy” Abbott, who is raised in an orphanage, the John Grier Home. Fortune strikes her when one of the trustees of the home offers to sponsor her college education, wishes that she work towards becoming an author, but does it with a clause that she has to write a letter every month explaining her progress, when the trustee himself remains anonymous.
Jerusha’s letters to the anonymous Mr. John Smith, whom she rechristens as Daddy-long-legs are very candid, simple and out-of-the-heart letters and shows her discovery of the outside world.
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- Lovely, simple and pleasant writing style of Judy and the author, in turn. Judy’s illustrations that accompany the letters, the small anecdotes and references make for interesting reading.
- Judy’s candid acceptance of her feeling of inferiority and how she manages to overcome them and mingle with the other girls.
- How hard work and determination can change one’s life can be seen through the life of a foundling-turned-author.
- It is enlightening to know that so many things that we take for granted are all blessings. Judy’s happiness at owning 6 dresses as against a gingham dress that she had and other such small pleasures of hers are big learnings for us.