©2002 Peter Benchley; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks America
I was fifteen when the movie was released, and I loved it then. I read the book shortly after seeing the movie, and I remember liking it. Thirty some-odd years later, I listened to the audiobook and loved it even more. The narration by Erik Steele was pitch perfect. I was transported back to the 70s, and it was a rollicking nostalgia trip. Peter Benchley definitely caught the spirit and attitudes of the time and somehow wove them into a story that is like Moby Dick meets Fear of Flying meets the Old Man and the Sea meets Godzilla! I am surprised that it took so long for this iconic piece of Americana to be published as an audiobook. My only regret is that I was unable to wait until beach season to give it a listen. It would be the perfect accompaniment for a long weekend by the ocean.
Jaws reads like a cross between a Stephen King novel with a bit of Moby Dick thrown in. All in all, it wasn't too shabby. It sure wasn't serious literature by any stretch of the imagination, but it was worth a credit and the time spent listening to it. Sometimes you just want to be entertained!
I saved this listen for the beach vacation so I might have enjoyed it even more because of that - just fun. I was very surprised how different the book is from the movie. I rented the movie after the listen and plot varies greatly. I prefer the book. Much more backstory. Movie is great for suspense but listen to the book for a real story. Excellent narrator - great listen.
Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.
I had seen this movie years ago, but really found this book drew the best pictures in my mind. It is vividly written, although not a classic, it will forever be frightening. Author Peter Benchley does a fantastic job of describing the disturbing events caused by a massive shark, and how they tramatically effect the town people. Most attacks are not graphically described, if you are looking for that read Jaws 2. After being aquainted with Jaws who of us hasn't had a shudder run down their spine as something hits their leg in the murky ocean water???
I read this book many years ago and knew it differed from the movie, but I thought it would be fun to listen to the audiobook version. First off, yes - the movie is much better than the book - not because the book is awful, but rather because the movie is just so good and memorable. And it is true the dialogue Benchley's puts in his character's mouths is not particularly natural and there are many redundant sections throughout.
(Do note, however, that this book did spend 40 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller list and sold 20+ million copies, so someone certainly liked it!)
However, the book is unintentionally fascinating as a view into mid-1970's US society. I really enjoyed the watching the characters deal with life without cell phones, without microwaves, without the internet, all the while constantly drinking, smoking, dealing with class envy, latent sexism, racism, many references to the "War" (meaning WW II) and 70's era concepts of "swinging". I'm sure Benchley thought his characters were pretty progressive, but almost 40 years later the attitudes are very amusing.
Between the 70's society study and a reasonably good monster story you can definitely enjoy this book, just leave your memories of the movie at the door!
First read the book when it came out and read it more then once - great summertime read. At the time I was a young mom of three and vowed that my little ones would never swim in the ocean, of course, that vow was broken many times over. Decided that it would be a great summertime Audible book and I was right - love it - it is like visiting with an old friend - bringing back good memories. Also Erik does a great job.
In my experience books are always better then the movies; Jaws is not an exception. If I was not afraid to go into the water, I am now. :) Unfortunately the shark is not the only predator in this book. Some of the people are as well; human nature can be just as savage as the killing machine (the shark). I enjoyed this book.
The suspense never let up, but it wasn't just a suspense novel. It had great character development. This book is not dated. I enjoyed listening to it as much as I did reading it all those years ago. It's a much better book than it was a movie..
The moral dilemma.
Brody. He's the heart.
Why would I rename it. Who writes these questions?
I remember reading this on woodware when the movie first came out (yep - I'm that old). Its one of those stories where you can't help relating it to the film no matter how you try. That said, it stands up well and has several threads that Speilberg chose to ignore in favour of spending more time with a mechanical shark that didn't work properly. It is reasonable paced and does enough character development to make sense without dragging. The narration is clear and not intrusive. Basically a good read.
Near the end, we see an unexpected ''personality'' in the fish.
There is a weird sort of parallel to Moby Dick here. The characters were real, and you get to know them better than in the film. I do remember that the first few lines were pretty hokey.'' It was a dark and stormy night'' kind of thing , but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
I always find a book better than the film, and this classic is no exception. much more depth (no pun intended). much more story and a great sense of fear. Being unabridged there is plenty of time to get into the characters and to feel the terror creeping up on you. All in all a fantastic story.
Unfortunately, the oration is the downside of this audio book. The delivery is so slow I was convinced it would have fitted on one less CD, if read normally. Although he tries to give depth and character to novel, for me it was ost and at one point i found the delivery like listening to an audio language lesson. he has definately been influenced by the film and even tries to get his characters sounding like those from the Spielberg classic. This is a shame as some of the tones and characters used don't match with the written description. certainly one orator I will try to avoid in future.
"Good, but a little disappointing"
Having already seen the film a number of times and loved it, I was really looking forward to reading this book. The plot is more intricate and human-focused than the film, with some surprises in there, but ultimately, I found the pacing was off. The book raced through some parts, then dragged in others to the point where I found myself not listening, or even interested in reviewing the parts I'd missed. Overall, though, it was a great story and thoroughly enjoyable. Worth listening even if just to compare to the film.
"Better then the film"
I've seen the film time and time again and love it so wasn't sure if I would enjoy the book as much. The book is excellent with lots of little extras which are not in the film, the narration is also good and if you have seen the film the descriptions of the fish and characters are great as brings them to life in your mind all in all this is a great book if you have seen the film or not.
"A brilliant novel"
I have to say that I purchased this book being a fan of the film, and was hoping that the book would be half as good. I was more than pleased with the book which as per usual delves deeper into the characters. Although parts of the book now feel dated, the story doesn't suffer for it.
A wonderful book with colourful characters, if you love the film, you'll love the book as well.
"In Amity they say yahd"
The book is so much better than the film, and I love the film, so that's saying something.
You go much deeper into the relationship of Chief Brody and his wife; and how the summer people differ from the winter residents. Hooper is also completely different, had they included the animosity between Brody and him in the film, the 'out at sea' parts would have been much more claustrophobic and threatening.
A great listen if you know the film, also for those who don't, the shark is just as sinister and will continue to make you scared to go in the water!
"Unlike the film"
More intricate and involved than the film; a G8 novel for taking to the beach
"Seen the film - now read the real story..."
This is not what you will expect! While all your favourite characters are there, there are several major plot changes which will give you a much different 'Jaws' experience.
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