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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone's seen the film... Read the book!
Firstly, Is it horror? Despite the protestations of one of my dearest friends, "What's scary about a big fish?" I would respectfully submit to you that yes, Jaws is in fact a horror. If you are of the opinion that a masked man stalking teenagers in smalltown America, picking them off one by one is horror; then a man-eating shark preying on unsuspecting bathers off the...
Published on 10 Jun 2012 by John Milton

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moby Dick it ain't
Peter Benchley's debut novel is perhaps almost impossible to seperate in ones mind from the Spielberg blockbuster of the same name. Both film and book cover the events of a few summer weeks on the island resort of Amity in which a killer shark chomps its way through a series of swimmers, leading three men to go to sea to in a man vs. beast showdown. So iconic is...
Published on 27 Jun 2009 by Mr. T. COLEMAN


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone's seen the film... Read the book!, 10 Jun 2012
By 
John Milton (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jaws (Paperback)
Firstly, Is it horror? Despite the protestations of one of my dearest friends, "What's scary about a big fish?" I would respectfully submit to you that yes, Jaws is in fact a horror. If you are of the opinion that a masked man stalking teenagers in smalltown America, picking them off one by one is horror; then a man-eating shark preying on unsuspecting bathers off the coast of smalltown America is no different.

For me, if there was a physical embodiment of fear, it's a shark. This is an absolutely primal fear of an animal whose basic design has not evolved or changed in millions of years. Sharks are effectively living fossils, an apex predator so perfectly acclimated to its ecosystem that they have survived for million of years at the top of their food chain. So yes, `Jaws' is a horror novel.

Released in 1974, `Jaws' hit the bestseller lists and stayed there for nearly a whole year.

The author (Peter Benchley) drew his inspiration for this novel from a number of real-life incidents, most notably the 1964 landing of a 2000kg Great White Shark caught off the coast of New York state and the infamous Jersey Shore attacks of 1916.

As stated previously, `Jaws' is the story of a small American coastal town, reliant on summer tourist trade that is preyed upon by a man-eating Great White Shark; and the subsequent hunting of said shark by the town's police chief, an Ichthyologist and the local seasoned shark hunter. Many will already be familiar with the Spielberg film adaptation but I would suggest to you all that the novel is by far the superior of the two.

`Jaws' the novel provides far greater depth to the characters involved with the backstory to Ellen Brodie and the Chief's marriage, the Mayor's shady dealings and other aspects that I choose not to reveal to those who are not familiar with the book. As opposed to the film, the book offers significantly different relationship dynamics for the lead protagonists and a palpable feeling of tension on board the boat that viewers of the film will already be familiar with. Overall, there is a generally darker tone throughout the book and an ending that is poles apart from the distinctly Hollywood finale of the movie.

This is one of my shorter reviews but I fail to see the point in a book review that simply gives the whole plot of a novel away, effectively ruining it for any potential reader!

In my opinion, `Jaws' is an incredibly satisfying read that easily drew me into the world created by Benchley. My only warning with this book would be to save it for dry land; this is not a book you want to be reading on the beach!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping!, 6 Mar 2010
By 
Mr. D. Fuller "Daniel Fuller" (Plymouth, Devon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jaws (Paperback)
Peter Benchley's 'Jaws' is a book very much of its time: there are some characters that resonate the recent history of America (Hendricks, a Vietnam veteran with obliviously homophobic undertones- a role significantly reduced in the film). There is also a somewhat mysoginist view of female sexuality (a discussion about sexual fantasies in the book focuses shockingly on Ellen Brody's apparent desire to be raped- that's no way to flirt)... but if you're going to read 'Jaws' for informed social commentary, you've probably picked up the wrong book.

When Benchley isn't concerning himself with domestic issues, class conflict and shady political dealings (something he is clearly interested in exploring in Part Two), he excels at constructing taught, tense sequences that move at such a thunderous pace they are actually heart-pounding. The opening sequence is much what you would expect having seen the film, as is the inevitable finale, but the difference between this book and the unsurpassable movie that it inspired is largely in the characters. A major supporting character is entirely excised from the film (journalist Harry Meadows), the touching connection Brody has with his sons is absent from the book, and Hooper is an entirely different animal altogether.

There are some incosistencies within the book; in the first two acts, Benchley seems unsure whether to follow the shark or the effects it has on the small town leading into an entirely unnecessary and uncomfortable emotional betrayal (it's here that Benchley shows weakness) and also giving too little focus to a subplot about Mayor Larry Vaughan's shadowy mafia connections (perhaps something better left hinted at rather than exposed- I don't entirely understand the point of the cat sequence at all). The book is quite largely devoid of any true wit, something the screen version has in spades. But in the characters of Brody and Quint, Benchley has created something that the screenwriters couldn't avoid. Quint is very much the Ahab seadog we see in the film (if not quite as developed as Robert Shaw's outstanding turn) and Brody is still the conciencious everyman trying to do the right thing, even though it terrifies him.

The third act is rewarding, and equally as gripping as the film's- but it's that screenplay (co-written by Benchley with Carl Gottlieb) that just outdoes it. Benchley was right to make changes for the adaptation, it's simply better. That's not to say that this book is not worth reading. On it's own merits it's a taught little thriller, with some stomach turning depictions of the shark's numerous attacks, and I really relished some of the elements that didn't make the final cut of the film. If unfaithful adaptations are bad, then Spielberg's 'Jaws' would be an awful film. Sometimes changes need to be made, and I think that these two different versions of 'Jaws' should be appreciated in their own right. The novel could've been a little leaner, a little more to the point- but it's those diversions that add to the palpable tension and create an atmosphere of unrest and incredible power in what has to be one of the most grippingly cinematic conclusions to a book I've ever read. Part Three of 'Jaws' doesn't waste a word, leading me to suspect that some of what preceded it was just a bit of padding. Still, when you finally get out on that boat it's just flawless.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and ripping., 23 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Jaws (Paperback)
An old coverless copy of Jaws was left in my waiting room at the clinic. You can imagine my surprise when far from being a dental thriller, this book turned out to be all about a shark. Well I couldn't put the book down. As I read on my denture patients were suffering from floating lower chompers and food getting trapped underneath their falsies. So be it, this is a fabulous ripping tale, taut and explosive at the same time, has only one draw back - it caused a universal fear, hatred and subsequently slaughter of the Great White. I understand Mr Benchley is now on a crusade to rectify this. If successful that will be his greatest work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Tale, 9 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Jaws (Kindle Edition)
Excellent novel. Worth a read on its 40th anniversary, even if you have, like me, watched the film many times. A much darker and fleshed-out story than the film with many plot differences. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read and good value., 9 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Jaws (Kindle Edition)
A classic story but with some twists compared to the film...worth a read and good value, too. I would recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good!, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Jaws (Kindle Edition)
I love the movie and a friend told me that I should consider reading the book. I thought this book was fantastic, slightly different from the Jaws movie but well written and in some parts pretty scary. If your a fan of the movie this book wont disappoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drama, anticipation, lust, anger, despair...it has it all!, 10 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Jaws (Paperback)
I have always been a big fan of the movie and before now i'd never really considered the original book.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see such a difference from the movie, which kept all the qualities I came to expect having watched the movie countless times.

There are plenty of sub-plots in the story and a lot of suspense. A very enjoyable read, from the first page to last I was hooked.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who has watched and enjoyed the movie, or even if you haven't!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jaws book, 27 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Jaws (Paperback)
a good read, I read this book when it came out originally,I wanted to know if it still had the same effect on me as when I was 15 years old .It didnt, but thats probably asking too much! Still a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still got that bite!, 24 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Jaws (Kindle Edition)
I haven't read this since it was released, and personally I found it has dated a bit. It is also the unusual case where the film is perhaps more famous than the book, and we are more familiar with the character alterations of the actors who play Brody, Hooper and Quint (although I find it impossible to not imagine Roy Scheider still as the chief of police in Amity).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 28 Dec 2012
By 
D. D. Pianta - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jaws (Paperback)
My son has watched the movie and he is now reading this book in school. He really likes it and is very interested in marine life too.
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Jaws by Peter Benchley (Hardcover - 31 May 2005)
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