Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dear Enemy,

     I am currently taking precious time out of my day to write my daily post.  Do you know how hard it is to pull oneself away from something to tremendously wonderful?  I am having that exact feeling.  The thing occupying my mind and time you may ask?  Dear Enemy, by Jean Webster.         
    I am completely captivated by this little trinket.  I don't know what it is, but I am addicted.  Just as I was to its predecessor:  Daddy-Long-Legs, by Jean Webster.  Both books amazing, both a work of art. 
     I've realized that I have told to NOTHING about either book and I should be shamed.  I am not however,  you see I dearly hate describing books. And I do mean dearly hate to do it.  It's a little ironic is it not?  That I had set out to write a blog about the books that are currently taking up my main thought and yet I hate describing them.  So, until I feel the desire to describe a book I will copy and paste a summary of the book onto this little insignificant blog. Sited of course.

To begin with I will post a rather lengthy but the best I could find summary of Daddy-Long-Legs:
"I don't think you will be able to guess what this book is about just by looking at the title!
      In the beginning, it is a series of letters, written by an American orphan girl, really just on the brink of womanhood. When we first meet Judy Abbott she is seventeen years old and still living in the John Grier Home for Orphans. She has done well at the local high school and one of the trustees of the orphanage offers to pay for her to go to college. But he insists on anonymity. All he asks is that she write a letter to him once a month to let him know of her progress through college. She is to address him as John Smith, and she is to expect no reply. So, you see, it is a rather one-sided correspondence!      Well, how would you feel if you had lived all your life without any family of your own and without anyone showing the slightest interest in you, and suddenly, quite out of the blue, someone started to shower you with kindness? I expect, like Judy, you would be desperate to know more about your mysterious benefactor:
"'I wish you'd come and take tea some day and let me see if I like you. But wouldn't it be dreadful if I didn't? However, I know I should."'
     Judy has a wonderful time at college. She makes new friends and studies many subjects that are entirely new to her. To begin with though she feels very strange and isolated because she has so little in common with the other girls:
"'I have a new unbreakable rule: never, never to study at night no matter how many written reviews are coming up in the morning. Instead, I read just plain books - I have to, you know, because there are eighteen blank years behind me. You wouldn't believe, Daddy, what an abyss of ignorance my mind is; I am just realizing the depths myself. The things that most girls with a properly assorted family and a home and friends and a library know by absorption, I have never heard of."'
      Of course, over the years of her study at college Judy grows into a lively and attractive young woman who takes enormous delight in the little pleasures of ordinary life. It's easy to see why Jervis Pendleton, her rich room-mate's uncle, finds her company so enjoyable. And it's easy to see why Jimmy McBride finds her fun to be with too. He's the brother of her other room-mate. And do you want to know who she falls in love with?" 

     All I have to say is this didn't really do the book justice.  The book is more about a blooming young woman who is coming into her own and adjusting to the everyday normal life that she was stolen from at such a young age.

Dear Enemy,
      "Daddy Long-Legs is vanilla, sweet and smooth. Dear Enemy is more like mint chocolate chip, refreshing with nuggets of warmth, laughter, bittersweetness. You will be enchanted by the fiery-haired Sallie McBride and her orphans.
     Sallie has been asked by her college buddy, the Judy Abbott of Daddy Long-Legs, to run the John Grier Home, the orphanage Judy was raised in. A cheerful and unabashed socialite waiting for her Congressman boyfriend to propose, Sallie takes on the job on a temporary basis. Armed with her sense of humor and her firm brightness, along with her maid and her Chow doggie, she gets her heart stolen by the 100 sad-eyed charges.
     The book is modeled after Daddy Long-Legs, so it is entirely composed of Sallie's stick-figure-illustrated letters to Judy, Gordon (the boyfriend), and the Home's prickly visiting doctor, whose letters are soon addressed "Dear Enemy." Her letters catalogue her daily adventures with the sweet, colorful kids, a series of cooks and farmers, sexist trustees, and grumpy neighbors. In all of this, there sparkles a strong feminine spirit, blithe optimism, and clear-headed compassion. The letters read so naturally and sure, Sallie's charm radiates whether she is amusing us with a story of orphan mischief or seriously discussing the consequences of hereditary alcoholism."
     This review/summary on the other hand does indeed do the book justice and I am terribly in love with it.  Oh, how I wish someone would read this precarious post and be inspired to read at least one of these novels.  And if you weren't inspired by the first summary, but were by the second do not fear, reassurance is here!  You DO NOT need to read Daddy-Long-Legs in order to read Dear Enemy.  Now, I must stop neglecting my most precious novel.


  1. I will definitely have to give one of them a try. My favorite YA author is Tamora Pierce. She writes Fantasy books with wonderfully strong female characters that go through great adventures. I started reading her books when I was in 3rd or 4th grade and she is still one of my favorite authors and I am in my 30's. I look forward to reading about your future reads. Oh and I found you via your Mom's blog.


  2. Keep up the good work Morgan! Love reading about books, they are my passion too.

    1. I love the Jean Webster books, but never managed to read Austen. Love that first line, but just wilted on the vine for the rest. And Chaucer? I admit, I never even tried.

      I have read the Christie, and found it rather boring;you've got my sympathy!

      So, if you love two of my faves, and are enthusiastic about two books I've never managed to wade through, how would you say the Chaucer and Austen are similar to Jean Webster? You've got me intrigued, and I never expected to even think about reading Austen again!


    2. To me, it's not about how the authors are similar to each other. Frankly, they can be two completely different stories. To me it's all about the story not how the author writes the story. If I don't like the story line then I'm not going to read it. Jane Austen wrote about the power of love in a time when love of a very non-important part of marriage. Chaucer wrote to be entertaining and Jean Webster wrote about a young woman's journey into society. A society that she has never before experienced.