Jaws: A Novel by Peter Benchley (Epub)

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Ebook Info

  • Published: 2012
  • Number of pages: 340 pages
  • Format: Epub
  • File Size: 0.28 MB
  • Authors: Peter Benchley


When Peter Benchley wrote Jaws in the early 1970s, he meticulously researched all available data about shark behavior. Over the ensuing decades, Benchley was actively engaged with scientists and filmmakers on expeditions around the world as they expanded their knowledge of sharks. Also during this time, there was an unprecedented upswing in the number of sharks killed to make shark-fin soup, and Benchley worked with governments and nonprofits to sound the alarm for shark conservation. He encouraged each new generation of Jaws fans to enjoy his riveting tale and to channel their excitement into support and protection of these magnificent, prehistoric apex predators.

This edition of Jaws contains bonus content from Peter Benchley’s archives, including the original typed title page, a brainstorming list of possible titles, a letter from Benchley to producer David Brown with honest feedback on the movie adaptation, and excerpts from Benchley’s book Shark Trouble highlighting his firsthand account of writing Jaws, selling it to Universal Studios, and working with Steven Spielberg.

User’s Reviews

From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Benchley’s novel, while better known as the source material for Steven Spielberg’s classic movie, has earned its own stripes as a small gem of suspense fiction. With another summer fast approaching, audio listeners may be interested in revisiting the town of Amity, Long Island, and getting back in the water. Erik Steele, a theater and film actor, chomps into Benchley’s raw prose with appetite, enjoying every bite of gore and social observation. Making ample use of well-placed pauses and silences, Steele amplifies not only the suspense, but Benchley’s surprisingly well-honed characterizations. The experience, of course, is markedly different from Spielberg’s film, offering shocks less visceral and more contemplative. A Random House hardcover. (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the audioCD edition. From Booklist This novel about a rogue shark that terrorizes a beach community hasn’t aged a day since its publication more than 35 years ago. Benchley’s writing is lean and efficient—this is his first novel, and also by far his best—and the story is a solid mixture of small-town politics, mystery, and outright terror. The author positions his protagonist, police chief Martin Brody, as virtually the lone voice of reason in a town filled with people who want to downplay the shark’s presence (so as not to scare away tourists with their bulging wallets); and when the body count starts to rise, it’s Brody who has to find a way to kill the beast, even if it means putting his own life on the line. The familiar characters—Brody, oceanographer Matt Hooper, shark-hunter Quint—are not as likable as they are in Steven Spielberg’s classic film adaptation, but in the context of the novel, they are well drawn and compelling. Those who are familiar with the movie, but not the book, are in for some surprises, and those who read the book way back when should definitely give it another look. –David Pitt –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:

⭐ In honor of Shark Week I reread Jaws by Peter Benchley.If you’ve only seen the film (one of the best ever IMHO) the book is worth reading. It is different from the movie in many ways. This was Benchley’s 1st novel and he captured lightning in a bottle. His character development is brilliant as evidenced by how easily they translated to the film version. The characters in the film are the same … but act and relate to each other a bit differently (a brilliant move by the film makers). His depictions of the “fish”, the attacks and the political havoc wrought on a small seaside town are captivating. The story and dialogue is fast paced. It’s a great read … even a second time.I can’t remember another book to movie that I’ve enjoyed more than this one.

⭐ I opened this book expecting the literary equivalent of Jaws the movie, which was amazing and engrossing and frightening and left me with a permanent fear of swimming in oceans and lakes. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time, and one of my favorite memories. That is not what this is.I found the writing mediocre and overdone. There is quite a bit of additional plot and random musings by various characters, most of which have nothing to do with the shark. There are quite a few sexual references which are all distasteful in my opinion and just plain unnecessary. The author commits a fairly hefty number of pages to the floundering relationship between Brody and his wife, Ellen, then never bothers to resolve their situation in any way. Everybody and everything are portrayed with a disdain and bitterness that gives the entire story an unpleasant ambience. The shark is barely in the book until the last 48 pages, and for me, the ending is anti-climactic. It was more subtle and believable, so some of you may prefer this ending over the movie version.The thing I find most disappointing about this book is all the bigotry, racism, sexism, and the dash of anti-Semitism. After reading the five and half page introduction the author wrote 30 years later (2005), which was included in my edition, this was especially hard for me to get through. He explains why he portrayed the shark so poorly, how much he regretted that, and how he later became a shark activist…. and not a single word about all the social prejudice. NOT A WORD. I had to take a lot of breaks from reading, and I was frequently tempted to quit this novel all together.I admit I went into this book before reading any reviews or anything at all about it, so part of the terrible experience I had reading this book is my own fault. I went in blind and with high expectations, so the fall was exceptionally hard. This book was published in 1974, fresh off the civil rights movement and women’s liberation. I should have investigated a bit first. Hollywood did Peter Benchley a huge favor by cutting away everything about this novel except the shark portions, which quite frankly, are much better in the film.

⭐ Jaws. I am sure we have all heard about this shark more times than we can remember. So I don’t think any sort of a plot rehash is necessary.What to say about this? I enjoyed the scenery details and the descriptions of some of the shark attacks, etc. There were some great scenes early on and I could really see myself getting scared of Jaws in such a different way while reading this. But that was Part 1 of the book (which is split into a total of three parts).But as a friend said in a chat the other night, this book should have been called The Amity Affair. TOO much of this book is about an adulterous relationship. I read this book for SHARKS (although he is consistently referred to as “the fish” throughout most of the book). There was not nearly enough BITE in this book for me. Thank the water lords that we have the brilliant minds of Spielberg and Williams to bring this book to the big screen. The sights and music are two of the things that make Jaws JAWS. While I didn’t expect that same feeling while reading this book, I did expect more shark and less extramarital affair discussion. Seriously… it’s at least 1/3 of the book if not more. Anyway… 3 stars from me on this one!

⭐ There’s no call for a bigger boat here – this is not the same story as the movie version. Generally speaking, yes it is, but the movie took the action storyline from the book and left all else behind. The details left behind are interesting but not *that* interesting – at times they greatly slow an already slow paced story. The pace and all the additional material (life in town; more with the Brody family; a larger group of characters, some with different motivations and fates) means the book is 70% done before people go out after the shark. Still it’s a good read, and there *are* surprises in the plot where book and movie differ. I just prefer the movie over the book this time.

⭐ Jaws has been one of my all-time favorite movies for years, but for some reason I had never bothered reading the book. Well after recently finishing reading Jurassic Park (another favorite movie), I decided to keep with the trend and read Jaws. And I’m so glad I did. The book was a very quick read, but I enjoyed every bit. There was definitely a fair amount of content in the book which was omitted from the movie, and I’m ok with that. The book and movie are both enjoyable respectively and in their own rights. I’ll likely watch the movie and read the book again very soon.

⭐ I first read Jaws well over 20 years ago, and to my teenage brain back then it was a masterpiece. Giant shark eating people, blood running everywhere… all the stuff a young adolescent thinks is very cool. Just reread it today for the first time since, and I’m a little disturbed on how far off the mark the young me was. Make no mistake, it’s a good read (especially the last hundred pages) but I really struggled on some parts.I think the main issue is you’d be hard pressed to find a likeable character in the book. Brody is OK at best, but comes across as bitter and jealous (although the latter is understandable). Ellen Brody is a selfish whiner who cheats on Brody, Hooper is an arrogant jerk who she cheats with, Quint’s an angry loner who brutalizes sharks for entertainment… it just goes on and on. Hendricks and Harry Meadows are probably the only decent human beings in the story and they’re minor characters. It’s hard to cheer against the shark with these people involved.I found the affair between Hooper and Ellen to be horrendous. That’s bad enough on it’s own but they meet for a secret lunch where she goes into details about how she has a rape fantasy she wants him to fulfill. It reads as uncomfortably as it sounds and I hated every moment of this subplot.This is one of those rare cases where the movie adaption outshines the book in every way. See that, avoid the source material. Hollywood nailed this one perfectly!

⭐ This was a fantastic book that still frightens me after reading it 2 years ago. The ending haunts me still, nothing like what you’d expect. Clearly you saw the movie before you read the book, I just have a hunch, you’re going to hate Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss’ character) in the book, which is why I gave this book 4 stars, I loved the character in the movie.Is this review based off emotion? Yeah. Maybe. Maybe a little, whatever! Read this book! Shut up! Go away…

⭐ I first read this in my senior year of high school in 1975 just a month or two before the movie was released. Something possessed me to read it again recently. It’s definitely a potboiler. In some ways it is more suspenseful than the movie, but it also veers off into a series of on-shore subplots–more meandering sexual escapades and mobsters pressuring local smarmy business types that seemed to have infused a lot of the novels of that period. Maybe Benchley or his editor/publisher felt a ripping sea yarn wasn’t sufficiently marketable. I like the novel best when the author focuses on the ocean, on the shark, on the chase and on the motivations of the those who pursue the shark–there seems to be plenty of drama in that and in the killings that lead up to it without all the other filler, but maybe that’s just me.In a way, it’s just a rather pedestrian reworking of Moby Dick and the ending–at least Quint’s demise is an obvious homage to that novel. Plot synopsis: A malevolent force must be stopped. We can’t understand it, but it must die.

⭐ 45+ years since the release of Peter Benchley’s first novel “Jaws” and I am reading it for the first time. All four movies containing the same title of the novel have long since been released. I am a fan of the Jaws movie saga less the 3-D version (part 3) in which they should’ve made it with more artistic integrity and it would’ve been a hit in my opinion.However, this is a review of the novel. I was taken aback to realize there was infidelity, mobsters, tons of profanity and a terrible end to the novel. However, what I did like about the novel is that author does a good job at giving an intelligence to the “fish” as called in the novel numerous times. Sharks are not dumb. They may be instinctual creatures but aloof they are not! The novel does a good job in its description of the movements and seemingly the sharks thoughts about them.As with many novels if becoming motion pictures afterward, the movies usually lack many of the details in the book. To our disappointment. Yet in this instance the movie proved better than the book.I for one hope to see another stab (no pun intended), at the Jaws series. But I suppose a possible sequel to “The Meg” will have to suffice.Is it worth reading Jaws: The Novel? If you have not seen the movies, then maybe. If you have seen the movies by all means do not read the novel.

⭐ 4.5 starsI was 9 when the movie came out, and have watched it a number of times. A classic. I generally dislike reading a book after I have seen the movie. In this case, it was enjoyable. I appreciated the image I had of the movie characters and setting as I read the book. I also appreciated that the story had an added element of tension and drama that I won’t reveal (be careful reading other reviews, some discuss this element openly). That added element has been criticized by some reviewers, but I felt it gave the book another dimension versus the movie, and provides an additional layer of human drama that enhanced my enjoyment of the story. I am not sure why Spielberg and/or others decided to leave it out of the movie, but it does make the movie more focused on man vs. shark moreso than man vs. himself, and I can see the merit from a theatrical perspective. It would be nice to see a movie remake that was more true to the book, a la the TV version of The Shining.Some reviewers a have criticized Benchley’s writing abilities, but I found the book to be compelling and well-written. Time well spent, and long overdue.


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