Monday, December 03, 2007

Daddy Long Legs

Jerusha Abbott is an orphan about to face uncertain life alone. Jerusha grew up in an orphanage with not much hope for a bright future until a wealthy benefactor elected to support her college education. Her anonymous supporter, John Smith, only required that she write letters about her life and college experiences on a monthly basis and to study writing so that she may become a writer. She was not to expect any response from Mr. Smith in return.

Jerusha (later changed to Julia) accepted the opportunity knowing what a rare and wonderful opportunity it would provide her. The only thing Julia knew about her benefactor was that he had financially supported the orphanage. She began to address Mr. John Smith as Daddy Long Legs in her letters, assuming he was a tall old gentleman. The letters, comprising nearly the whole story, are charming, fun, witty, and full of what a young college co-ed would experience. During Julia's experiences she meets and falls in love with a Mr. Jervie. The story ends with a romantic twist (and not unexpected, especially if you have seen the movie).

The story, written by Jean Webster, takes place in the early 1900's when few women attended college. Still, there are many things that a reader of today can glean from the story about persistence, and hard work. A story about an under privileged individual overcoming difficult circumstances is inspiring.

I am not sure how much I like the character of Mr. Jervie. He seems to have orchestrated (and controlled) much of Julia's college experience for his own benefit. When the truth is finally told at the end, I wasn't all that sympathetic toward Mr. Jervie nor did I like Julia's acceptance. I probably would not have been so forgiving. Even so the story is a worthy read.

Book Rating: 5 Stars

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