However, I have struggled with it so much, I have given up. I tried so very hard to read it - gave it a good 100 pages out of 400 odd - but it was just too much of a challenge. The text was hard-going. The characters were too numerous to keep up with. I felt no empathy for the characters, and to be honest, I don't really care how the story of the poor orphan bastard ends.
If it wasn't for the challenge I would have given up way before 25% of the way through. Probably by page 10 ish; that or two chapters in is my normal (but rarely used) cut-off point. However, I persevered and wasted a lot of time.
I felt kind of bad for my 30 Before 30 list. How did I get over this? I jumped onto Amazon and bought myself a copy of the Tom Jones BBC series on DVD. It's 312 minutes long (a double DVD set), but for £3, it'll be worth it. And Max Beasley is playing Mr. Jones. Fab. I'll know the story in many fewer weeks than it will have taken me to read it.
Yes, the challenge was to read the book, but at least I will know the story now - enough to answer a pub quiz question, maybe!
From reading one quarter of Tom Jones, I have learned the following:
- Henry Fielding is the author, not the name of the principal character. Yes, I struggled with this for the first few days of considering this read. He himself seems to be, following some research, amazing man, journalist, barrister, justice of the peace to name but a few, whose character is embellished even more so by the scandal his publication made 5 years before his death in 1754!
- Reading the word 'bastard' a couple of times on one double page spread makes me smirk, even though I know the real and non-offensive meaning the author intended.
- There is no uncertainty; I hate classic books written pre-Victorian era.
- If a book I'm not enjoying is a heavy tome, I am more likely to quit. My handbag was significantly heavier with this beast in there!
- I'm capable of caving in to the DVD if the text is just too boring. That's a first for me. I'll always try to read the book before watching the film adaptation. Same with stage plays. Going to see 'Les Mis' on stage is also on my 30 Before 30 list (done!), and now I've seen it love in the West End, I can watch the film guilt-free.
I was relieved of Tom Jones by Iain Bank's novel, 'The Quarry' for a couple of days. Banks saved me from going off reading good and proper, but Tom Jones is well on his way to a charity shop book shelf.
Just Don Quixote and Pilgrim's Progress to go on the 30 Before 30 list, then... More classics - what fun!
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Born to be a Tourist