As for many of Dickens' novels, highlighting social injustices is at the heart of Little Dorrit. His father was imprisoned for debt, and Dickens' shines a spotlight on the fate of many who are unable to repay a debt when the ability to seek work is denied. Amy Dorrit is the youngest daughter of a man imprisoned for debt and is working as a seamstress for Mrs Clennam when Arthur Clennam crosses her path. Will the sweet natured Amy win Arthur's heart? And will they ever escape the shadow of debtors' prison?
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This is one of my favorite books ever. I have read it many times. The first time was slow going but I kept on and it has been rewarding me ever since. I think Charles Dickens saw himself as Arthur Clennam. I love the beginning with the merciless sun shining in the sleepy Marseilles harbor and the gradual (very gradual) unfolding of the story from there, how the characters are not named at first and then gradually the story plays out. Amy Dorrit is pretty saintly and it makes me think of the Australian author Peter Carey (I think that is his name) and a novel he wrote recently that re-imagines the sweet and virtuous female heroines of Charles DIckens' works, such as Amy Dorrit, in light of his (Charles Dickens) real life relationship with his wife's sister when he was young. Very interesting speculation! But the story of Little Dorrit - from poverty to riches in a sense but always poor in some sense, and really, always rich too, is compelling to me. I love the Italy part of the book too, and the description of the travelers in the Alps at the beginning of the 'riches' part of the novel, so evocative, I can remember it even now though it has been several years since I read Little Dorrit.
To sum, I love the love story of Arthur and Amy.