Jaws Hardcover – May 31 2005
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“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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.)
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!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished 23 months ago by ellison
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
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
This is a great read...the main character "Brody" is very likable...the attacks were described really well... Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2009 by Mary Jane
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 morePublished on March 15 2004 by Cyrus Clennon
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 morePublished on Feb. 16 2004 by Don