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Month in review

Reviews
All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo
And Then There Were Gnomes by Colleen AF Venable
Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird
A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel
Beachcombing by Maggie Dana
The Bora-Bora Dress by Carole Lexa Schaefer
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Elsie's Bird by Jane Yolen
Expletive Deleted by Ruth Wajnryb
Fullmetal Alchemist 16 by Hiromu Arakawa
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
The Glass Collector by Anna Perera
The Happy Hippopotami by Bill Martin Jr.
Horrible Harry Goes to the Moon by Suzy Kline
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Meeow and the Pots and Pans by Sebastien Braun
Pigs Make Me Sneeze by Mo Willems
Pinkalicious and the Pink Pumpkin by Victoria Kann
Railsea by China Miéville
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C Stead
Silent Music by James Rumford
So, What's It Like to Be a Cat? by Karla Kuskin
Steadfast Castle by Michael Swanwick
A Study in Scarlet by Ian Edginton
The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
Through the Triangle by CP Stewart
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 02 by CLAMP
Twin Spica 04 by Kou Yaginuma
Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf
xxxHolic 09 by CLAMP

What Am I Reading
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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Daddy-Long-Legs: 05/23/12

cover art

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster is a hundred year old epistolary novel about a young woman getting a chance to follow her dreams because of the sponsorship of an unnamed benefactor. The story follows Jershua "Judy" Abbott through her college education and the early days of her career as a writer.

I come to the book, though, through the 1955 film adaptation staring Fred Astaire as the titular character and Leslie Caron as Judy (renamed Julie for the movie). While the gist of the film is the same as the book: older man provides money for a younger woman's college education — the set up is completely different and more troubling. At the time the film was made, Fred Astaire was more than twice Leslie Caron's age. Although he plays a young-at-heart character (one enamored with rock and roll drumming), he is still clearly old enough to be her father.

So it was with an uneasy curiosity that I read Jean Webster's book.

The differences between the film and original source material are immediately apparent. First and foremost — the setting is domestic. Judy, though still an orphan, has been raised in the United States. She is not an exotic — post WWII French teacher of French orphans. She is, instead, an American contemporary with LM Montgomery's Anne Shirley. Judy's experience at the orphanage and her sponsorship into an American university, is therefore, recognizable and credible — something the film version can't pull off.

In the film, there is a heavy dose of voyeurism of the dirty old man variety as Julie's benefactor befriends her under false pretenses and otherwise keeps an eye on her. Of course voyeurism is part and parcel of film story telling but it's clearly at odds here with the source material. In the book, Judy and Jervys (changed to Jervis in the film), do meet and become friends, as he keeps up the secret identity as her benefactor. But their meeting is circumstantial and as he's significantly closer in age to her (late twenties/early thirties to her late teens/early twenties), it is far more plausible that she and he would become more than just friends.

Judy's letters are written in a believable, charming voice that rings true a century later — and I suspect well into the next century. Along with her quirky turns of phrase are drawings, little sketches that Judy sometimes sends along in her missives. They too add to the overall appeal of the novel.

Keeping all those thoughts in mind, I adore the novel. It is delightful. Anyone who loves LM Montgomery's books or anyone who is a fan of Louise Rennison's books, will enjoy Daddy-Long-Legs.

Five stars

Comments (4)


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Comment #1: Thursday, May, 24, 2012 at 00:14:52

sqt

I clicked on this review because I used to watch "Daddy Long Legs" as a kid. Clearly I was too young to understand any subtext and liked it only for the dancing (loved Fred Astaire). Now I'm *really* interested in seeing the movie as an adult.



Comment #2: Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 16:56:01

Pussreboots

I loved the dancing and songs too of the movie as a kid. I still do but the performances are odd given the romantic aspect and their age differences. I do, though, recommend reading the book if you havne't. It's a quick but delightful book. You can read it in an afternoon.



Comment #3: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 02:35:01

Wendy

I like a quick read, so I'll see if I can find this one on ibooks. :)



Comment #4: Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 23:12:01

Pussreboots

If you can't find it there, Project Gutenberg has it.