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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
From its first publication in book form after the serialisation, Little Dorrit has always proved to be a good seller. So why has this book always been so popular? For whole segments Amy 'Little' Dorrit does not even appear. The novel covers so much more than the title implies.

Little Dorrit is born in the Marshalsea, where her father is imprisoned for debt...
Published on 21 May 2008 by M. Dowden

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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good on characterisation poor on plot
Warning: this review contains spoilers.

The major strengths of the novel are its characters and atmosphere. Every character is sharply drawn, we can visualise them in our mind's eye; Dickens has the ability to invest each of them with their own distinctive speech patterns. He can also create atmosphere whether it be describing the Marshalsea or the interior of...
Published on 9 Nov 2008 by Mr. T. Harvey


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 21 May 2008
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
From its first publication in book form after the serialisation, Little Dorrit has always proved to be a good seller. So why has this book always been so popular? For whole segments Amy 'Little' Dorrit does not even appear. The novel covers so much more than the title implies.

Little Dorrit is born in the Marshalsea, where her father is imprisoned for debt. Eventually he is released at the end of book one, when he comes into an inheritance. For Mr Dorrit this leads to paranoia that people are talking behind his back or laughing at him due to his former poverty. Poor little Dorrit finds it difficult to change her ways and is still a ministering angel to all and sundry.

What really stands out in this book are the locations, as the story travels from London through France, Switzerland and Italy. This is the most widespread geographically of any of Dickens' novels. Also this book probably has the most sub-plots of any Dickens novel, with mention of murder and smuggling, to actual acts of corruption and suicide, to love, marriages and death. Mrs Clennam tries to keep a family secret buried but is being blackmailed, and is her house haunted or is there a more rational explanation?

As to be expected with Dickens there are some great characters and some good comedy. Anyone who has ever had any dealings with govermental departments can really appreciate the Circumloction Office, and its practices. A few of the illustrations in this book are some of the very best to appear in any of his novels.

This is a must read book, that with so many things going on throughout will keep you absorbed for hours, and that you will want to read again.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Dorrit, 18 Jun 2009
By 
T. J. Huins (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Dorrit (Audio CD)
A vivid and detailed tale of Victorian England, which has many similarities to present day Britain. A really masterful story by Charles Dickens, graphically narrated by Anton Lesson, another master of his profession. It has more than 10 hours of story, ideal for a long car journey or enlightening another pile of ironing or a long winter's evening. We wholeheartedly recommend it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American spellings, 22 Feb 2009
By 
Michael Bell (Shipley, UK) - See all my reviews
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I was a bit put-off by a previous review that claims that this book has been changed to american spellings but went ahead and got it anyway as I thought that the illustrations were worth it (they are). I have found that the book has not been americanised (just opened it at random to page 362 and almost the first word I see is 'endeavour' - english version. It does conntain some olde english spellings, eg trousers is spelt as trowsers (not pants).
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dickens at what he does best!, 20 Nov 2008
This review is from: Little Dorrit (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Little Dorrit is a prime example of Dickens' weighty descriptive style and his genius for observation and characterisation. It also, perhaps unusually for Dickens, has a semi-coherent story line.
The book chronicles the respective fortunes of the title heroine, a young women caring for her incarcerated father in the Marshalsea Prison, and Mr Arthur Clennam, a kindly businessman returned lately from the east, who becomes obsessed with the idea that his father was responsible for the Dorrit families woes. An entrie host of characters, good and bad, amusing and obnoxious, accompany the main protagonists on their mysteriously intertwined journeys. The only fault I can find is with the tale's finale, when it seems Dickens grows tired of the story, not actually having a great twist for the climax, and bumps off many of his characters before ending with a rather predictable chocolate tin finish. However, your sense of achievment at having penetrated deeper into the world of Dickens, meeting memorable heroes and villains will probably overcome any misgivings on this score. The scene where Mr Pancks cuts the patriarch's hair is pure genius and the petulant Mr Dorrit, Flora Casby and her objectionable Aunt are another constant stream of entertainment.
Apart from the moral that money will not buy you happiness, Dickens also used this book to launch a scathing criticism against the government and society of the time, represented by the infamous Circumlocution Office and a certain affluent couple named Merdle.
An excellent read for all those who have a reasonable grasp of the English language or have enjoyed other Dickens books.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good on characterisation poor on plot, 9 Nov 2008
By 
Warning: this review contains spoilers.

The major strengths of the novel are its characters and atmosphere. Every character is sharply drawn, we can visualise them in our mind's eye; Dickens has the ability to invest each of them with their own distinctive speech patterns. He can also create atmosphere whether it be describing the Marshalsea or the interior of Mrs Clennam's house. He is wonderful at creating a scene, of placing his characters in that scene and exploring the interaction of each.

The weakness of the novel is its plot. It never really gains momentum and there is always a sense of stasis, of things about to develop, but never doing so. We are presented with a series of tableaux and then, suddenly, something happens with no relation to anything that has gone before. Much is left unexplained; we are never told what Doyce's invention actually is, we are given no clue as to the nature of Merdle's financial dealings, his downfall just happens. The Dorrits suddenly become rich halfway through the novel. It dosen't convince.

A warning about this Penguin edition. For some inexplicable reason, American spellings are used throughout (eg 'honor' instead of 'honour'). I am not sure why this has been done and as certain Victorian spellings are also used, it makes even less sense. Some readers may find this annoying and would prefer to read a different edition.

A bonus of the Penguin edition, though, is the inclusion of the original illustrations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Dorrit, 1 Feb 2009
By 
S. M. Burns "SMB" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Dorrit (Paperback)
For me, a great book, Dickens' meticulous attention to detail sets the plot and through the book the story line develops, sub plot within plot. I enjoyed the book very much, as I have all dickens' books I've read. SMB
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic classic, 20 Jun 2009
By 
Gaynor Thomas "Bosslady" (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Dorrit (Paperback)
Oh how I loved this book! I am a huge fan of Dickens but recently real life has taken over and I never seem to have the time I need to devote to reading "proper literature". I read lots, but usually crime fiction as it is plot driven and so keeps me picking the book back up again in any spare minute I have. But I really enjoyed the TV adaptation of this, so I put the book on my Christmas list and found that I actually couldn't put it down! I don't know what it is about Dickens but I adore the way he writes and it was a real pleasure to immerse myself in his language and his world for the few weeks it took me to read this massive tome. The characters spoke to me and became my friends and I was really sorry to say goodbye to them when the story came to an end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but fascinating, 26 Aug 2013
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Little Dorrit (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This is prime Dickens, so must merit five stars even if it is a novel which typifies the virtues of and failings of Dickens' maturity. A work clearly springing from the author's deepest fears and concerns, it is exceptionally diffuse and prolix, sufficient to provoke the despair of his admirers and the grim satisfaction of his (few) detractors. There is barely enough plot or incident to cover nearly eight hundred pages and some of the chapters where Dickens gives vent to his frustration with the interminable procrastination, otiose bureaucracy and ingrained tribal structure in the machineries of government and the Civil Service, are decidedly superfluous, for all their magnificent scorn; sometimes the author wears his satirical hat too long.

This is Dickens exorcising two demons: his engrained terror of debt and imprisonment, springing from his childhood experience as the child of Mr Micawber and his loathing for the self-serving Establishment. It is worth pointing out that the debtors' prisons had long been closed when this novel was written so this is not in any crude sense a "reform" novel but must be viewed more subtly as a work which exploits imprisonment as a metaphor, whereby many of the characters are "locked in" to a wretched existence and seek freedom and redemption.

As ever, the result is some immortal and fantastic creations: the Circumlocution Office is an institution to match the workings of Chancery - another institution which was in fact in the process of reforming itself just as the novel was being written - in "Bleak House". There is not perhaps the wealth of striking or comic characters one expects in a Dickens novel although many still approach the immortal. Flora, "the relict of Mt Flinching" with her wholly punctuation-free logorrhoea is almost a caricature of Dickens' own style which at times is so convoluted and high-flown as to puzzle the most diligent of readers.

The hero and heroine are scarcely that: both are in many ways poor creatures but they preserve their integrity intact and are properly rewarded as must be in the workings out of Dickens' moral universe. Arthur Clennam seeks an outlet for the emotional void resulting from his loveless upbringing by helping others, but must learn the humility of dependence and the gracious receipt of assistance. Little Dorrit herself suffers from the Fanny Price of "Mansfield Park" syndrome, in that she is for some "too good" (whatever that means) and her devotion to her selfish and feckless father, with his snobberies and delusions, is almost painful to read yet not necessarily implausible, given her circumstances.

Yet William Dorrit is no caricature: for me, the most affecting and in many ways terrible scene, is when he brutally repulses young John Chivery who dares to visit him, now wealthy, as he used to in his days of penury in the Marshalsea. The remorse and conflict in his soul as realisation of the turpitude of his demeanour towards Young John hits him, is so vividly depicted by Dickens:

"Mr. Dorrit was ashamed. He went back to the window, and leaned his forehead against the glass for some time. When he turned, he had his handkerchief in his hand, and he had been wiping his eyes with it, and he looked tired and ill."

Nothing elaborate or pretentious in the prose here; just plain, stark narrative.

Dickens once more displays his special gift for exploiting pathetic fallacy and extended images to enhance his presentation of character; thus the various, respective settings - the self-contained world of the debtors' prison, the decrepit Clennam house which eventually collapses like a pack of cards, the faded, crumbling glory of Venice - all act as mirrors of the characters' psyches and moral condition.

Of course the process of serialisation partially explains and vindicates the novel's etiolated nature. It takes so long for the flimsy plot strands to be knot that the subsequent necessary dénouement seems almost perfunctory and Dickens makes exceptional demands on the reader's patience, powers of concentration and recall. But this is Dickens the genius, and there's no other author like him.

P.S. and Spoiler Alert: one wonders if Dickens is signalling via a French pun on his name the moral properties of the arch-capitalist Merdle, ultimately revealed as "simply the greatest Forger and the greatest thief that ever cheated the gallows."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Dorrit, 24 Jan 2009
This review is from: Little Dorrit (Paperback)
A truly superb story and a must for everyone,whether a fan of Dickens or not
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book for such a great price!, 20 Jun 2009
By 
Ms. M. Cooper "m8e8g8" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Dorrit (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I bought this exact make of book on the high street and it is such great quality for the price. There are other reveiws saying that the pages fall out- that is not true what so ever because my book is very hard wearing and the pages are NOT falling out. The book itself is a fantastic captivating novel. Its not a slim book either (800 pages!) and you have to want to read it to finish it.
The story is fantastic. The characters in this novel is what I enjoyed most. All of them are so well crafted and painted in the grand picture of Little Dorrit. Riguad, the villian of the story, adds a new dimension to the story giving it more depths. I found it funny in places and I found it moving when the quiet Amy Dorrit devotes herself to Arthur. Overall I would reccommend this book to a strong reader who has read novels like this before.
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Little Dorrit (Wordsworth Classics)
Little Dorrit (Wordsworth Classics) by Charles Dickens (Paperback - 5 Oct 1996)
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