This is one of those happy occasions when I get to review one of my favorite books. Tom Jones is like nothing I have ever read before. It combines the wit of books like Clarissa with the hilarity of novels like Don Quixote.
This book follows the shenanigans of an illegitmate rake, Tom Jones. He...um...enjoys many ladies, but then falls in love with Sophia Western. Sophia is a very Pamela-like character. This makes her less interesting then say, Ms. Fitzpatrick, who is a liberated woman who runs away from her husband. Fielding controls who you hate, love, or laugh at and I completely submitted myself to him.
This novel is extremely well-written. I had to read out loud certain quotes to random people because the lines were so eloquent. I am pretty sure no one cared, but it was worth it. The most enjoyable parts of the novel came from Fielding's introductions to each new book. He pretty much talked about whatever the hell he wanted to at that moment and I drank in every word. Fielding challenged virtue (he just can't stop criticizing Richardson!), critics, plays, and other writers. His very last preface almost made me cry. He compared the reader and the author to two people that accompany each other in a carriage and though we will probably never see each other again, we enjoyed each other's company and will depart cheerfully. Truly an amazing experience and you own it to yourself to read it. I am going to be foisting this book on everyone I know.
This novel was turned into a movie in 1963. I don't know if I should rent it, or if I should just avoid the inevitable disapointment.
The topics that were included in this novel (protistution, class discrimination, illegitimacy, etc.) made critics pan the book for its "lowness". Henry Fielding told the critics at the beginning to mind their own business so it is their own fault.
Trailer for the movie version: