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Jaws [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter Benchley
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 30 1991
"Relentless terror." The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again -- or for the first time!

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Product Details

Product Description


“A tightly written, tautly paced study of terror [that] makes us tingle.”—The Washington Post
“Powerful . . . [Benchley’s] story grabs you at once.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Relentless terror . . . You’d better steel yourself for this one. It isn’t a tale for the faint of heart.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Pure engrossment from the very opening . . . a fine story told with style, class, and a splendid feeling for suspense.”—Chicago Sun-Times

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Peter Benchley began his career as a novelist in 1974 with the publication of Jaws, which was made into a hugely successful film. His other books include The Deep, The Island, The Girl of the Sea of Cortez, “Q” Clearance, Rummies, Beast, White Shark, and Shark Trouble. He was also a speechwriter for President Lyndon Johnson and a journalist for such magazines as Newsweek and National Geographic. Benchley died in 2006. For more information, please visit www.peterbenchley.com.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does Not Conflict with Movie Nov. 27 2010
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My older brother took me to the movie "Jaws" in 1975 when I was ten years old. My fingers had to be pried off the arm rests at the end of it - I was scared, engrossed and could not even think about eating candy during it. I have probably seen the movie twenty times since and can quote the dialogue. So I was a little nervous picking up the book thirty-five years later for fear of it impacting the movie.

But there are significant differences between the movie and the novel that make reading it fun. The main characters are entirely different than the movie and there is more detail in the plot that the movie could not honor so you will not envision Scheider, Shaw and Dreyfuss as you read it. The novel is a bit cheesy now and some of the character interplay unnecessary but worth reading.

I would recommend Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence, a non-fiction book by journalist Michael Capuzzo, about the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 that influenced Benchley's novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the movie, but still good April 6 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read the book as a teenager before seeing the movie. They're very hard to compare. In the book, I liked the scientific input, as well as Hooper's discussion about the possibility of mega-sharks millions of years old surviving still in the deepest, most unfathomable parts of the ocean. I was enthralled all the way through.
What I didn't like: The characters in the book all seemed kind of sad (even before the shark came along!). None were particularly heroic, except maybe Hooper when he got in the underwater cage. Quint was just plain bizarre rather than crusty and eccentric as in the movie. Brody was a bit of a loser. Ellen was simply pathetic - Remember that dinner party she decides to give to re-live her days as one of the elite of the island? That was painful to read; it was just plain sad.
Ellen and Hooper's short-lived fling was stilted and, even as an inexperienced teenager, a lot of it struck me false. I actually wondered if Benchley himself had had much experience with women to draw on for this part of the book.
Anyhow, I'd recommend the book because there are some interesting facts about sharks and it gets into the heads (for their last few moments of life) of the people being attacked in a way that makes your blood go cold. The shark's demise was anti-climactic, though probably more realistic than the movie's dramatic explosion.
(And to the person below who referred to Hooper as a 'weasly jew college boy?' Nice. Real nice. Just what everyone needs.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Movie great, book disappointing by comparison June 28 2004
By WaveMan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Jaws" is one of my favorite movies, and like many people, I like to read the book associated with a movie. Many times I find that the changes made during transitioning from a book to the movie version are unwise, unncessary or just plain stupid (one of the best examples of this that I can think of is "The Talented Mr. Ripley"). "Jaws," on the other hand, is the perfect counter-example. Most of the changes that were made in the movie vs. the book were an improvment, and in many cases, a big improvement. However, I will credit Benchley for this - had their been no book, there would have been no movie. (Also note that, in later years, Benchley distanced himself from the position this book takes on sharks, and he now views them from a more reasoned, conservationist perspective).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haven't seen the film... June 11 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
By far the most interesting piece of this book is shark. The shark attacks and the investigations afterwards are the glue that hold this otherwise pulpy chick-lit-esque book together. Unfortunately the book strays from the shark for the middle of the book and there are some excrusiatingly boring chapters about dinner parties, thoughts about love affairs, etc. There's one chapter in particular where Mrs. Brody stops at every single restroom she can (about one per every five pages) to a) change her underwear, b) powder herself and c) put powder in her shoes. YAWN. The chapter is so bad that it's almost funny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jump out of your chair terror! Jan. 21 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I saw this movie as a child, and I still get enraptured when I see it, such a well down show. I finally obtained a 1974 copy of the book and read it just recently. WOW! Is it ever true that the book is better than the movie! So much is explained, and the ending is so different. Peter's ability to get into the mind and soul of the character makes it more than just another thriller, it makes one to read again and again. I'm glad he did the screenplay because it was more true to the book than it would have been, although so much can't be seen in a movie that can be described in a book.
The relationship between the chief's wife and Hooper was unexpected and very realistic. The graphic detail was (astoundingly) better described than the movie could ever help to show, as well as the victims' fears and feelings before death. Talk about type-casting in the movie with Matt Hooper played by none other than Richard Dreyfuss and Quint as Robert Shaw! This book is one readers of any age will love and remember, as well as pass along to their own children. Peter Benchley is a genius!
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By John
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought "JAWS" by Peter Benchley after I heard how great it was. It wasn't. Nothing like the extraordinary film, it's perhaps the ONLY book I've ever read that is WORSE than the film adaptation.
Then I found out other people felt the same way as me, and I wondered why I had ever bothered with the novel.
Why is it so phenomenally bad? A few things:
Brody's wife, Ellen, gets into an affair with Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss in the film) and it's ridiculous. Pointless. It really serves nothing to the plot, and the detail is sickening. In the end, I thought to myself, What did that accomplish? Nothing but 10 - 15 extra pages for Benchley to fill in.
Benchley must have been "excited" when he was writing the affair parts. (If you catch my drift.) It was just so pathetically immature of Benchley to include a long passage of pointless eroticism.
The entire book was just pretty dumb. Quint is undeveloped, as well as all the characters. It's disturbing, and unlike the film, the so-called "heroes" are not nice at all. I don't think I was rooting for them -- I was rooting for the shark to eat them all!
The ending is nothing like the film, either, and it feels anti-climatic.
I've read thousands of books and this is perhaps the only one worse than the film adaptation.
The movie is far superior.
Much like "JAWS," Benchley's "Shark Trouble" is a bit stupid. But it's better than "JAWS" because it's more fun to read. I recommend this with hesitation.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Fish story
Whoever saw this as a movie was a visionary. A bare female swimmer gets betten in half, then a boy on a raft. The reader is along for the first attacks. Read more
Published 9 months ago by ellison
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW
This book is great. I was expecting a couple of differences here and there from the movie. But this is a completly different story all together.
Published on March 17 2011 by beeblefox
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book, but for me, i love the movie so much that even the book doesn't compare. Still, a good read.
Published on Aug. 3 2010 by Walsh
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the movie as always
This is a great read...the main character "Brody" is very likable...the attacks were described really well... Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2009 by Mary Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars SCREW ALL WHO HATED THIS BOOK
I saw jaws several times before i actually found myself buying the book, out of curiosity, to see the story in its original form. Read more
Published on March 15 2004 by Cyrus Clennon
5.0 out of 5 stars AS GOOD AS THE MOVIE
The two are equally fantastic. The difference is that the events of the novel transpire in a more realistic fashion. It also lets you into the mind of Chief Brody. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004 by Don
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
I am very disappointed with this book. I love the movie and I thought the book would have the same story with more details. But it isn't so. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2004 by CFS
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