Posted by: Lizzie Ross | July 21, 2010

You’ve seen the movie, now read the book

Daddy-Long-Legs (1912), Jean Webster, The Century Company, approx 120 pp.

Don’t let the movie confuse you. The original story takes place at a time when there are still horse-drawn carriages around and automobiles are the exception rather than the rule. Judy is an American orphan (not at all French), reminiscent of a red-headed PEI orphan whose story was written in 1908. Maybe orphan fiction was a trend at the time.

Told in the letters Judy writes to her benefactor, her story is quite sweet, as she gains experience and knowledge during her years at college — making up for the dreadful neglect she suffered while at the asylum.

There’s no excuse for not reading this — it’s short enough to get through in a couple of hours. Access it through www.Archive.org. And then, enjoy the sequel, Dear Enemy, where Judy’s friend, Sallie MacBride, takes over the orphanage and attempts to bring it into kindness and modernity. The book has its funny moments, if you can ignore the eugenics stuff, and of course the requisite happy ending, which will test your romance radar if you like trying to predict how these books will end.

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