©2002 Peter Benchley; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks America
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???
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 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.
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!
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.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
No review of Jaws could start off without mentioning the movie. I was eight at the time, so, while the rest of the family went to see it, my mom had to take me to Bambi. I remember coming out of the theater to find a woman crying and retching into a Kleenex, so distraught was she by Jaws. (My mom had to take me out of Bambi also: I just lost it when Bambi's mom got blown away by the hunter. Honestly? Between Bambi's mom dying and a freaked out shark, I think I would've handled the shark better.)
When I finally saw it, I thought it was great. And when I read it, I seem to remember finding it to be a good read.
So, it was quite disappointing to find that it just didn't age well. And by no means does it follow the movie. Which is just fine. I understand that. But the book has so many, many layers of the personal lives of the characters which, at first I appreciated. It's nice to have character development. It goes overboard though, and starts to drag. One wonders where the shark is. It is called Jaws, isn't it? The shark is supposed to be the main draw. The daily lives of the characters, their small and even large choices start to get in the way of the narrative, drag it down. Especially since the characters make some pretty poor choices that have nothing to do with the story. It just gets annoying. Who needs to know about a petty affair?
Imagine my surprise, also, when the real action starts, and I looked down and found that there were only six more minutes of the book. Talk about an abrupt ending!
I also had to listen to this at 1.25 speed as the narrator, Erik Steele, makes each line ponderous, with huge pauses in between sentences and concepts. He also has the voice of an anchorman. To his credit, though, is the fact that his dialogue really, really shines. His characterization of Quint is dead on and so very enjoyable, I could have listened to a book with only Quint all day long, as Steele brings him to life with such wonderful tones and a great accent.
Ultimately, this was a decent book, with decent writing and great action in sporadic scenes throughout. It left me hungry for more. Which is unfortunate because it really could've given more. A good enough read but unsatisfying when all is said and done.
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.
College Student that loves to listen to audio books!!!
No. The movie was much better and more interesting than the book. Watch the movie instead.
It was so focused on Brody's wife Ellen it seemed like. I didn't quite get it.
Definitely the shark scenes when they are out on the boat trying to kill it.
Brody because he is the main character and he is the POV of the story.
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.
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.
"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!
"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.
"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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