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Daddy Long Legs

by Jean Webster
172 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Jeanne

A hilarious read but with disrespect toward God, disobedience, and a general acceptance of Evolution

Plot

17-year-old Jerusha Abbott is an orphan - an orphan living in the John Grier Home under the care of Mrs. Lippet, which just means that she is an orphan with more work to do. Her story begins on a Wednesday, when all the Trustees come to the Home to discuss important matters with Mrs. Lippet. Upon their departure, Jerusha finds that one of those Trustees (whose elongated shadow, looking like a daddy-long-legs, she saw) has taken it upon himself to send her, Jerusha Abbott, to college. His only stipulation is that she write letters to him monthly without expecting any reply.

Thus commences the letters from Jerusha "Judy" Abbott to the man she knows only as Daddy-Long-Legs.

Morality

There aren't many moral foundations; Jerusha directly defies Daddy-Long-Legs on several occasions, has a slightly vindictive nature, and insults the John Grier Home many times. Most of these actions are portrayed in an amusing way designed more to make the reader laugh than to think deeply about the significance of such actions.

Spiritual Content

Miss Webster would have done better to leave God out of the picture altogether in these letters. The first time anything spiritual comes up has to do with a letter Jerusha writes saying "[I never knew] that we were once monkeys and that the Garden of Eden is a beautiful myth." A little while later, Jerusha indignantly writes that a bishop preached a sermon on how the poor were placed on Earth for richer men to do good to.

The most significantly appalling reference to God comes fairly early on in the letters when Jerusha tells Daddy-Long-Legs that the people she is staying with "...have a puritanical view of God, a mean, illspirited, cranky Person just waiting to find fault", and she is "thankful that she is free to make up her own mind about God." She is convinced that He is an understanding, kind Person with a sense of humor. While not untrue, she obviously missed the idea of God's holiness and sovereignty.

Violence

Scraped knees, bruises from basketball, and other such light references are made.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

"Daddy-Long-Legs" is a book that will have the reader in fits of laughter almost from beginning to end, and as a purely entertaining read is a classic. However, the general acceptance of Evolution and the disrespect toward God, as well as Jerusha's evidently independent spirit, make the values score plummet.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 2
Written for Age: 11-12

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