Daddy-Long-Legs & Dear Enemy (Daddy-Long-Legs #1-2)

ISBN: 0143039067
ISBN 13: 9780143039068
By: Jean Webster Elaine Showalter

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About this book

One of the great novels of American girlhood, Jean Webster's Daddy-Long- Legs (1912) follows the adventures of an orphan named Judy Abbott, whose letters to her anonymous male benefactor trace her development as an independent thinker and writer. Its sequel, Dear Enemy (1915), also told in letters, follows the progress of Judy's former orphanage now run by her friend Sallie McBride, who struggles to give her young charges hope and a new life. Full of irrepressible female characters that both recall Alcott's Jo March and anticipate the popular heroines of contemporary literature, Webster's novels are witty, heartfelt, and delightfully modern.

Reader's Thoughts


Daddy-Long-Legs was one of my favorite books as a kid. I loved this book so much that when I finished reading the book I was very upset with myself for reading it so quickly. I have read it again and again. The movie is somewhat disappointing but that's usually the case. I have not read Dear Enemy yet and I am so excited to get started. Guess I'll have to re-read Daddy-Long-Legs to remember everything what's going on.

Mayday Maddie

This was recommended to me by a fellow teen center advisor -- an avid bookreader -- as her favorite book...And I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! It don't know if it is my "favorite" book, but it certainly ranks up there. The novel is completely epistolary (written in letters) making it double the awesome.It follows the correspondance of a grateful orphan to the anonymous benefactor who paid in full for her to attend Princeton University and become a professional writer. The requirement for her allowance was a monthly letter, which he may/may not read (and never respond to), to keep her in writing practice and to let him know the $$$ was received. They were supposed to be written as though to the family member/friend named "Mr. Smith" Jerusha Abbott never had.The letters are comical and witty, accompanied with ludicrous drawings. The humor is subtle, but startling when you realize that the book was published nearly 100 YEARS AGO in 1912. It's just one of those books that makes you happy... A new one in my department of literature.I am proud to say I guessed who the anonymous benefactor was -- "Daddy-Long-Legs" (the only glimpse she has seen of him was his shadow, cast upon a wall [which made his legs appear thin, wiry and long]) -- but probably because I ahve more Agatha Christie than is healthy. I tend to pick apart regular books with clues like they are crimes... only not. Really sweet read, one I highly recommend for a day when you are feeling particularly gloooooooooomy.


First published in 1912, Daddy-Long-Legs is an epistolary novel that follows orphan Jerusha 'Judy' Abbott through her college years through a series of letters written to her anonymous benefactor, whom she nicknames 'Daddy-Long-Legs.' As Judy learns to navigate the complex world of studies, social life, and romance, her letters convey her growth and address the increasingly complex questions that preoccupy her. A classic coming-of-age story featuring a clever, engaging, and altogether realistic heroine, Daddy-Long-Legs has been a beloved tale since its publication and continues to delight its audiences.Listen to Daddy-Long-Legs on your smartphone, notebook or desktop computer.

Monica Jalil

my mother recomended daddy long legs because she told me that she read it when she was my age and it ias one of her favorite books. she said that she really enjoyed it and that it was about this girl that was 17 years old, she lived with other orphans, but suddendly, a stranger pays her college. and she has never seen him before but she calls him daddy long legs.

Avid Reader

There's something about an epistolary novel. I think I'd have been nine or ten the first time I read this book. I know I got it from the library, and read it in one night. Thirty years later, this was another one-night book. Charming, and sweet, it's as good as I remember.This is a fairy tale, an orphan made good story. She gets her education and her man. What's not to love?There's some proto feminism in here too. I loved this thought, tucked away in Judy's description of college learning:Don't you think I'd make an admirable voter if I had my rights? I was twenty-one last week. This is an awfully wasteful country to throw away such an honest, educated, conscientious, intelligent citizen as I would be. First line: 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.Last line:This is the first love letter I ever wrote. Isn't it funny that I know how?


I just reread this for our book club... very fun, quick read!Fun quotes from an orphan girl writing letters from college:"Did you ever hear of such a discouraging series of events? It isn'tthe big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to acrisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the pettyhazards of the day with a laugh--I really think that requires SPIRIT." (p. 51)"I don't agree with the theory that adversity and sorrow and disappointment develop moral strength. The happy people are the ones who are bubbling over with kindliness." (p. 55)"It's a very bewildering matter to get educated infive branches at once.'The test of true scholarship,' says Chemistry Professor, 'is apainstaking passion for detail.''Be careful not to keep your eyes glued to detail,' says HistoryProfessor. 'Stand far enough away to get a perspective of the whole.'You can see with what nicety we have to trim our sails betweenchemistry and history." (p. 90)"The world is full of happiness, and plenty to go around, if you are only willing to take the kind that comes your way. The whole secret is in being pliable." (p. 133)"It isn't the great big pleasures that count the most; it's making agreat deal out of the little ones--I've discovered the true secret ofhappiness, Daddy, and that is to live in the now. Not to be for everregretting the past, or anticipating the future; but to get the mostthat you can out of this very instant. It's like farming. You canhave extensive farming and intensive farming; well, I am going to haveintensive living after this. I'm going to enjoy every second, and I'mgoing to KNOW I'm enjoying it while I'm enjoying it. Most people don'tlive; they just race. They are trying to reach some goal far away onthe horizon, and in the heat of the going they get so breathless andpanting that they lose all sight of the beautiful, tranquil countrythey are passing through; and then the first thing they know, they areold and worn out, and it doesn't make any difference whether they'vereached the goal or not. I've decided to sit down by the way and pileup a lot of little happinesses, even if I never become a Great Author." (p. 157)


This book is just so great. I loved it! Julie is a great character, and although her voice is a little dated, it still works. It's set in a different time period, so the dated voice of the narrator works. I liked reading her diary, and although I did guess the identity of her benefactor early on, I loved watching her come to that realization. I enjoyed this book immensely, and think that you should read it too. It is geared toward a younger audience, but I sitll think it's fun and definitely worth a read.


I had read "Daddy Long legs" when I was younger, but I forgot a lot of it. It is so sweet. Especially now, I'm older and more well read, I understand the references and the time period better. The two books remind me of a modern "Jane Eyre" and "Pride and Prejudice". These are independent young women who face the world and the men they love with their lives in their own hands.


Reading is a pleasure, ain't it! And it is more interesting when you discover a book out of the blue and it turns out to be a masterpiece!One of the many reasons why I LOVE the blogging world, is because " you find books everyday, out of the blue".So there I was hopping around my Google Reader from blog to blog, reading what had been going on in each of my friends reading lives, when I chanced upon a review of a book named Daddy-Long-Legs (and Dear Enemy) by Jean Webster on Nymeth's Blog! Now, what was that?! I went back again to make sure I had read the title right! Yes, I did! And then read the review too.. and if you guys read Nymeth's blog, you know how she can make you LONG to read a book she has loved :) and that's exactly what I FELT!So off I went in search of this little epistolary novel first published in 1912! 1912? It has to be available online, I thought... and Good God, there it was... you got to LOVE Project Gutenberg []!This is an epistolary novel about a girl from an orphanage who is given the opportunity to attend college by a benevolent trustee of the orphanage whose only demand is a letter outlining her progress in college.So this is what I have been busy reading every free minute I had in front of my computer and I tell you it is a DELIGHTFUL read. I have had that smile on my face since I started reading this one! I love it totally!!So in tab, of the happy-go-lucky book hunting that I have been doing, I think this has to be one of the best classics I have read so far. It is just AWESOME! It is a small book... full of life and inspiration and I LOVE this author. I mean, what imagination!!OK, I am not going to BORE you guys anymore, you ought to go read it and spread the word, I am sure you will LOVE Judy, her imagination and her happy-go-lucky attitude. Oh! you have so much to learn from this 17-18 yr old! Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh--I really think that requires SPIRIT.So true, don't you think?!Jamais je ne t'oublierai, Judy! [ I will never forget, Judy!:]


I just remembered "Daddy Long-Legs", a book that I really loved as a young teen. My mother gave this to me when I was something between 12 and 14 because she had read it when she was younger and she thought I might like it. I read this book quite a few times when I was younger (I read it in German back then and I've never actually read the original). I just really liked the character of Judy Abott and the way she had this whole new world to explore after spending her whole life in an orphanage, how there was so much for her to learn and so many books to read. I just checked on Wikipedia and it was actually written in 1912, which is so weird, because when I was young I always thought it was written in the 50s - I guess because the edition I had was published in the 50s. I have this image in my head of Judy sitting in her room in college in this tower in her window seat, reading (and it's snowing outside). It's strange sometimes, how certain images just stick with you even if you don't remember much about the book (although I remember this one quite well because I read it so many times). I didn't have a clue at the time what the word "Communist" meant, but I was convinced that I was one because Judy wrote in one of her letters to Daddy Long-Legs that she thought she was a Communist. It all just came back to me somehow, I'm not even sure why. But I'm definitely buying the English version sometime soon. :)It's really cute and probably a rather a girlish book - it's an epistolary novel about a girl named Jerusha Abott (nicknamed Judy) who is taken out of an orphanage and sent to college by one of the orphanage's trustees because she is really talented at writing and he wants to offer her the chance of getting a good education, despite the fact that she's really poor and has been brought up in an orphanage. The only thing she has to do in return is to send him a monthly letter. She's not even supposed to know who he is (he never answers her letters, either), so she decides to call him "Daddy Long-Legs" because the only time she actually saw him was from far away and she only saw his back and his shadow (which had those long legs, hence the nickname).I just loved discovering the world through Judy's eyes and I think this is well worth a read.


I read this book when I was first about 12 years old. (It was another edition bcs. I wasn't 12 in '82.) It's about an orphan girl who is sponsored by someone to go to university. She gets a glimpse of his shadow when he comes to the orphanage, and he appears as a spider, tall and thin, so she calls him Daddy Long Legs, because he wants to remain anonymous. Since he wants absolutely no contact with her, though she desperately wants someone to love, she writes him letters to tell him of her four years at the university. There is a wonderful surprise ending, and I advise anyone interested in reading this book NOT to see the movie first: the 2 hours you'll spend watching it will ruin the delightful anticipation of the book! I've read it at least 4 times! Great for young and older girls ... even in our middle to upper years!


A delightful young adult read. I am fond of books writen at the turn of the century. The writing is lyrical, the descriptions imaginative, and the grammar beautiful. Jean Webster has written a captivating book about an orphan from The John Grier Home. A mysterious benefactor offers to put her through college who she nick-names Daddy Long Legs. Jerusha (Judy) Abbot must write a monthly letter to the unknown benefactor, and will receive no answers. I enjoyed listening to her letters without expecting replies. I enjoyed the approach of a book written through the letters of another. A bit of intrigue, coming of age, hard ships, and a romance. My daughter and I listened to this book on a road trip and found it very enjoyable. I love reading a wide variety of books, but I love and feel more satisfied when returning to classic literature.


This book deserves five stars, but I gave it three.I loved reading this story; it really doesn't sound like a fairytale at first, but once I got into it I could see the magic building. And I love the happy ending, however brief it was.There are only a few things I didn't like about this book. The part that bothered me most was that Jerusha wrote 100% of the letters in the book. It's not that annoying, but it felt a lot like a one-sided conversation, especially towards the end. (Jerusha even noticed it too; she mentioned it several times to "Daddy Long-Legs".) I was hoping that the author would slip in a climactic note from the mysterious man, perhaps stating his love for Jerusha - or something. But that never happened.The end was also (as I mentioned) very brief. Jerusha wrote hundreds of letters about herself, but all we got was one meager scene about her relationship with her new-found lover. I had expected at least a few more letters about their romance.The final thing that irked me, right from the beginning, was how the author put God and religion in a bad light. I mean, I know that it's good to show that Jerusha has spirit and independence, but I wasn't sure I liked how she accomplished this.Nevertheless... this was an enjoyable read. Not the best, but not the worst either. I would give it a five, except that I detested what I have mentioned above.


This book made me want to live in the early 1900 and be packing my bags for college. I enjoyed watching Jerusha grow from a naive girl into a confident and independent young woman. It was very interesting how the author showed her grow intellectually throughout her four years of college. The one thing that this book really made me think about is am I grateful for my blessings. I kept asking myself: Do people need to have such great hardships to be truly grateful for all God has given us? Jerusha was grateful for her blessings because she knew what it was like to not have. Then you have to think about Daddy-Long-Legs, he must have been grateful for his blessing and was willing to share with the less fortunate. So maybe we don't always have to have hardships to be thankful for all that has been given us. Jerusha was happy and enthusiastic about life and worked very hard to succeed. I also thought about the fact that she wanted to pay back her guardian. How many people would pay back something if it wasn't required of them? Especially the cost of a college education.


If I were in high school, I would have given this five stars, although I'm not sure if I would have liked it as much if I had not seen the musical last year. It is a story creatively told entirely from the letters of one girl to "Daddy Long Legs". By the end of the book, I was completely enthralled with Judy Abbott as I was with Anne Shirley and Laura Ingalls.

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