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  • Jaws
  • Customer reviews



on 2 March 2017
This was the first book of choice that I ever read, it was great to re-visit.
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on 19 August 2012
Peter Benchley's Jaws is one of those books I kind of forgot existed, thanks in part to the brilliant film overshadowing it. I saw the film at the cinema a few months ago and it reminded me what a great story it is. The book was 99p on Kindle a few weeks ago so I bought it straight away. I'm glad I read it but I think the screenplay was better and I'm sad to say it isn't a book that has stuck in my head.

I didn't like Brody and Hooper's characterisation in the novel, I thought Brody's wife was insufferable and that there wasn't enough shark action. The beginning started off well with the first shark fatality, but the middle section lagged and I was willing something to happen. Benchley had a tendency to ramble in this book, and to be honest I could have done without it. Saying that, the latter part of the book was tense and exciting and I could finally see where the film got its quality from.

Benchley's knowledge of the sea and great white sharks made for interesting reading, and I liked learning more about this species and it's feeding patterns etc. I'm personally quite terrified of the thought of meeting a great white (I never go near water so that won't happen!) as I'm sure many other people are. Jaws is basically a nightmare of a book and one that would put people off swimming for life!

While I enjoyed elements of this book, and the last quarter in particular, I'm not sure it's one I'd immediately recommend as a random read. I do prefer the film and it's genuinely clever script, though the original novel is an interesting read for fans of the big screen adaptation.
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on 27 October 2016
Overall the book just like the film was great. But for me it left a lot of answers... errrm well unanswered. Which I guess is sometimes a good thing. Leaves a few bits to your imagination. But it annoyed me a bit on the ending. For me, this is one of those small times were I'd have to say the film is better than the book.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 August 2016
First published in 1974 this is probably not the best book to read if you are on the beach and thinking of taking a dip. After all you just don’t know what could be out there, and those great white sharks are prone at times to take a bite out of someone, although we are far from being their preferred food. With only the Orca as its natural enemy this is a fish that is definitely to be feared.

Taking place at the fictional seaside town of Amity, on Long Island, things are hopefully brewing up to a good summer. In a place where the local inhabitants rely on outsiders to stay and spend their money over the warm months, anything that may keep them away is a disaster. And when a woman is seemingly killed by a shark, so the town’s worse fears could be realised, especially when the problem starts to escalate.

Although definitely a thrilling read this was a success on first publication, mainly helped by some neat marketing and then the release of the film. With political machinations as well as sexual tension and adultery this helps to balance the story out a bit, so we don’t end up with just a shark chase and so on. But it is the shark that always grabs your attention.

With the town getting in a hunting fisherman to go after the shark this does have some nice cat and mouse play between man and killing machine, and the suspense and audacity of the shark does give this that oomph that it needs, and that people enjoy.

In all this is always fun to read, and if you have never read it before then perhaps it is something to add to your list, but just don’t read it before you go for a swim in the sea.
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on 10 June 2012
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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on 27 July 2017
I first read this book when it came out so was pleased to read it again. First the book is different than the film in how some of the key character interact together. If you enjoy the film try the book and enjoy the ride.
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2010
I don't know why I love this book as much as I do. Peter Benchley's style isn't particularly distinctive, the characters are not especially colourful, and though the idea of revolving the story around the danger posed by a shark is original, the sub-plots are not. Nevertheless, I've read 'Jaws' several times. I was first drawn to the book by the publicity surrounding the film when that was released, but didn't see the film until I'd read the book. While I understand why the film created a sensation, it didn't particularly excite me.

Those who rate the film and not the book are interested in the superficial aspect of 'scary' films and miss the point about the book. It's the same with Dean Koontz's bestselling horror novel, 'Watchers'. In that, the horror consists of a standard 'monster' that makes occasional appearances. What makes the novel great is its characterisation, the way the characters interact and deal with the situations they're in. The same is true of 'Jaws'. The presence of the shark raises conflict and tension, bringing deep-seated instincts to the surface. It is always the characters who make a good story, not the 'monster'; that is merely the catalyst.

The novel contains subplots missing from the film, which is not unusual. Chief Brody is the central character and his multiple problems (marital, moral and political) make him the character most ripe for development as events progress. 'Jaws' the novel is not likely to leave as lasting an impression on any reader as, say, a political thriller by Frederick Forsyth, but it is an entertaining and suspenseful read.
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on 26 November 2016
Definitely (and surprisingly) not as good as the movie! I can probably only count on one hand the number of times a book is worse than its movie counterpart, but here, the oceanographer character played by Richard Dreyfuss in the movie was so much more likeable than his book double. Certainly for me, the book version of the oceanographer just left a really bad taste in the mouth and I could see why Steven Spielberg had gone to great lengths to make him a part of the team in the movie and not an obnoxious outsider. I wouldn't read it again ... just stick with the movie!
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on 13 May 2017
Cant fault this book. My second time reading, first time i was a teenager and now 20+ years later i enjoyed it more than i did then.
Very much recommend this book.
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on 15 July 2017
When I first saw this book on amazon I thought I'd give it a read. I'd heard that it was different from the film and in places it is. It's not a difficult read, but there are better books out there that are worth reading
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