Every now and then a book comes along that feels like a long lost friend or a true literary kindred spirit, that makes you wonder, “Where have you been all my life? How did it take me so long to find you?”
Daddy-long-legs by Jean Webster was written in 1912, over 100 years ago, but the writing is still fresh and vibrant today – just like the main character, one Miss Jerusha Abbot AKA Judy, an orphan at the John Grier Home who is gifted a college education by an eccentric trustee who asks in return only that she send him monthly letters during her time at college updating him on her studies.
This is an epistolary novel at it’s finest – the kind of story that was made to be told by the form of letters – a style that has been known to make or break a book but usually break it. In this instance, the style is perfect and Judy’s writing voice is charming and witty from page one so that we know instantly that We Love Her.
Daddy-long-legs follows Judy through four years of college – but at just a few short letters every month the book reads quickly and I finished it easily in just a few days. Anyone with any real amount of reading time could likely read it in one sitting! Even better, like most classics, it’s available free on the Kindle!
I discovered this book while reading The Mother Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick – a series about a group of young teen friends who start a book club with their mothers when they are around 12, reading classics together (a really great series that I think would be terrific to read alongside your daughters) which inevitably correspond to their lives and bring them all closer together.
The girls read Daddy-long-legs in Dear Pen Pal (book 3 in the series) and all agreed unanimously that it was wonderful. Since there were only two books that the girls read in the series that I hadn’t read, I figured I’d try those two. This book was the shorter of the two on my Haven’t Read list so I tried it first and if it’s not obvious, LOVED it. Next up will be Jane Eyre, which I hope to find time to read in the new year.
What are some of your favorite classics?
What books have you enjoyed reading with your kids / do you look forward to reading with them?
Have you ever had a pen pal?