Daddy Long Legs is an enlightening book by American author Jean Webster. In this book, the author portrays the life of a sensitive and talented girl. As one of America’s best-selling novels, it has garnered special recognition and gained worldwide fame. This work is an abridged version of the original book, specifically rewritten for children and adolescents. The Persian translation of this book, skillfully rendered by Shadi Ebrahimi, has been published by Zanboor Publications.
Daddy Long Legs is a book that has evolved in meaning for me over the years. Initially read as a child, it has secured its place as my favorite after multiple readings in recent years.
Authored by Joanne Hayle, the narrative introduces us to Jerusha Abbott, a spirited young girl raised in an orphanage. Despite the challenges of her role as the eldest, responsible for her peers, Jerusha maintains a cheerful disposition and exhibits a flair for writing.
The turning point occurs when one of the orphanage trustees discovers Jerusha’s essay about her life as an orphan. Impressed, he decides to sponsor her college education, believing in her potential as a writer. However, the sponsorship comes with a peculiar condition: Jerusha must write him monthly letters detailing her life and studies, with no expectation of receiving replies.
Having glimpsed the trustee only from behind, Jerusha affectionately nicknames him Daddy-Long-Legs due to his towering stature. Despite never receiving responses, Daddy-Long-Legs becomes Jerusha’s confidant, providing implicit support through her challenges. The mysterious benefactor remains unseen but remarkably present whenever Jerusha needs him.
The story unfolds through Jerusha’s letters, offering a unique perspective and allowing readers to see the world through her eyes. The absence of dramatic dialogues, violence, or intense romances sets this book apart, emphasizing its focus on character development.
Jerusha emerges as a relatable character, filled with dreams, humor, and optimism. Her journey through school, friendships, writing endeavors, and first experiences with love is narrated in an innocent and amusing tone. As Jerusha matures, her letters reflect the impact of education and social interactions, capturing the essence of her transformation into womanhood.
What distinguishes Jean Webster’s work is the simplicity of her writing, presented in an easily understandable, direct, and touching manner. The letter format creates a sense of intimacy, as if Jerusha is personally sharing her thoughts with the reader. Jean Webster’s own delightful illustrations add charm to the narrative.
Beyond the surface, the story conveys the author’s conviction that everyone, regardless of their origins, can find success and happiness when given a chance. It’s perplexing that such a gem is not more widely known, as many are unaware when I declare it as my favorite. This oversight is truly unfortunate.
“Daddy-Long-Legs” is a literary treasure suitable for readers of all ages. I wholeheartedly recommend it as an underrated gem that promises enjoyment and enrichment for everyone.
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