I was reading “Joseph Andrews” on our way home from Grand Rapids this weekend, and after a number of random lols on my part, my husband, who was driving, asked what was so damn funny. I said, “I have no idea where this book is going, but the parson just punched another guy in the face!” Hubby, of course, looked at me like I had three heads, especially after I read him a passage from the book. I continued to read (and giggle) all the way home.
Because it’s just that ridiculous.
Really, where is this novel going? Nowhere, that’s where. It’s about Joseph Andrews. No, wait, just kidding. It’s about virtue! No, it’s not, is it? It’s about Abraham Adams. No, wait… it’s about… rape? Uhm… highway robbery! Class and being born “above” or “below”?? No, it’s wandering gypsies and stolen children and OMG INCEST WHAT IS HAPPENING oh just kidding it’s all good. Yay happy endings?
I have not read a picaresque novel before, and since it is loosely based on Samuel Richardson’s “Pamela,” I just assumed it would follow suit and have a plot — a beginning, middle, and end — but it is instead a series of connected, but very random, stories. It’s so aloof, I can’t even. It just kind of meanders on, and because you have no idea where it’s going (or if it’s even going anywhere), you just keep reading.
It’s brilliant in its lack of cohesiveness. It’s everything “Pamela,” with its message of virtue rewarded and “here’s how you should behave,” is not. It’s about the upper class generally behaving badly but never really being redeemed. It’s fantastic.
I owe a much closer reading to the last half of the book, which I intend to do tonight, so I may update this blog post again before class, but I’m thoroughly enjoying this novel and Fielding’s satire.