Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

I am reading the Mother-Daughter Book Club series and I really like it. But when I got to Dear PenPal, the third book, I realized that I haven’t read the book that the book club is reading, which is Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. But I know that the Mother-Daughter series sometimes spoils the books that the girls are reading.  And since Daddy-Long-Legs has been on my TBR list for a long time, I put Dear Pen Pal away, wanting to read Jean Webster’s Daddy-Long-Legs first.

Daddy-Long-Legs is described as Little Women meets Anne of Green Gables. I love Little Women and even though Anne of Green Gables is not my favorite book, I still had high hopes for Daddy-Long-Legs.

It’s about Jerusha, an orphaned girl, who is sent to college thanks to a mysterious gentleman. The only thing she knows is that he is very tall, so in her letters to him she calls him Daddy-Long-Legs. She is a smart and cheerful and at times very funny.  My favorite moments were when she rebels against Daddy-Long-Legs’ orders.

However I also had lots of problems with this book which ultimately ruined my experience. And these are SPOILERS, so keep reading only if you’ve finished the book.

I hated the romance. I absolutely hated it. Jerusha sees Daddy-Long-Legs as her family, almost as a father figure and she tells him all of her thoughts and feelings. I don’t see why she didn’t feel betrayed when it turned out that Daddy-Long-Legs is actually Master Jervie, a gentleman she had known for some time and fallen in love with.  And I thought that Jervie was very controlling. Using the authority she had over Jerusha, he controlled her and it was obvious that he was isolating her from her friends, to stop her from potential attachments to men other than himself.

I am aware that I can’t judge books written a century ago by today’s standards, but I think that Daddy-Long-Legs is one of the most problematic books I’ve read from that period. I’ll still probably read the sequel, just because I am curious about what happens next, but I assume I’ll be disappointed again.


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