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Jaws

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  81,163 ratings  ·  1,464 reviews
"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!
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Random House (first published January 1st 1974)
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Janey Yes, cuss words. Yes, really gory. Yes, an adulterous sex scene. Not for kids.
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I Only Watched the Movie!
76th out of 882 books — 4,903 voters
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The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Duuun dun
duuun dun
dun dun dun dun dun dun BOM BOM
dun dun dun dun dun dun
doo dedoo doo dedoo dede doo dede doo dededoo.”


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Has there ever been theme music used in a film more effectively than for the 1975 blockbuster movie Jaws? A movie so powerful that there are legions of people that have refused to go into the water ever since seeing that movie. I’m not a water person, growing up in the landlocked Midwest I don’t like being in water deeper than the depth to which I can see the bottom of the
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Brad
Jaws is the tale of a marriage on the edge of failure. Chief Brody, head of the Amity police, is married to Ellen. They've three kids. He's a native of the area; one of the poor boys who spent his days on the beaches while the rich folks came down to vacation from the big cities. She's from one of those big cities, from one of those rich families, and since she married Chief Brody she's been an outsider amongst the natives and outsider amongst the tourists. She belongs nowhere and feels herself ...more
Andrew Breslin
Reviewing a book that was made into a movie over 30 years ago and which almost everyone has seen already seems a little pointless. On the other hand I don’t need to post a spoiler alert. If you are somehow unaware of the plot of Jaws, then it doesn’t matter if I give it away, because--I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this--you have Alzheimer’s disease. Yes, it’s a shame. There there.

But even if you already know exactly what is going to happen, this is still a thrilling, chilling read. You sh
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Lyn
Five stars. Excellent book.

First of all Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel Jaws is darker and more complicated than Spielberg’s film. And it was a magnificent motion picture, a work of art with few peers and a production that garnered Spielberg his first high accolades. Benchley’s novel, as are most books, almost by artistic default, is more complex, with characterizations that are developed and interconnected, with a group dynamic that is as interesting as the surface story about a man-eating shark.

Th
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Miriam
I went to the Monterey Bay aquarium for a teachers symposium where they generously gave us a lot of their discarded educational materials and clearance items from the gift shop that hadn't been sold in a long time. Among those items were stacks and stacks of Jaws. They didn't care what we did with them so I took a whole stack and passed them out as prizes at a church social before I had read this book.

What I learned from this book is to never pass out any book at a church social before reading i
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Tea Jovanović
I was young (in my teens) and foolish enough to watch the movie based on this book while on vacation on an island... You don't have to ask me if I skipped going to sea for few days... :)
Idolwasp89
Aug 18, 2010 Idolwasp89 rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NOBODY
Jaws is my favorite movie of all time. I could not wait to crack open the book that started it all. What got me really excited was the fact that the book is almost as well revered as the film. Sadly, I cannot fathom how this book is considered the least bit good. I've read it twice. The first time I was naive and just wanted a meat and potatoes shark attack book and was disappointed by the abundance of non-shark goodness. After a while I decided to read it again and with a more open mind. Well, ...more
Stephen
“Jaws” is my favorite movie of all time. It’s perfect. Quite literally. And while I was perfectly aware that it was based on Benchley’s bestselling novel of the same name, I never brought myself around to reading it. I think it was mostly because I was worried it might change my opinion of the movie, for better or worse. But recently the novel kind of fell into my lap, and it being summer and all, I decided to give it a go. Why not, right?

Having just finished it, I can honestly say this is one o
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Slayermel
Jan 03, 2010 Slayermel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed the movie, or wants a good classic horror
Jaws was one of the first Horror movies I remember watching when I was younger, and it's still the reason I don't like to swim in open bodies of water ;op. Needless to say the movie made an impact.

I had stumbled across the book in a used book section and was drawn to it. I'm so glad I purchased it. This book was different enough from the movie to keep me interested and fast paced enough so I did not put it down. What I loved most about this book was right in the beginning they start off with the
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Matt Garcia
Great, action packed thrill ride of a book. Peter Benchley makes you feel like a part of the small seaside town of Amity and his characters feel genuine. This novel is not just a book about a giant, killer shark, it's so much more than that. The small town charm and solid characterization add to the book's mood and ambiance. When the final confrontation occurs, it is a roller coaster ride of twists and turns that will leave you feeling like you're in the boat alongside the characters battling th ...more
AH
Da dum da dum da dum da dum......

As a young child, I remembered being terrified by sharks - and it's all Peter Benchley's fault. In a way, it's kind of hard to separate the movie from the book sometimes, just as it is to separate real life facts from the fantasy of a shark hellbent on revenge. I even remember visiting Universal Studios and going on that tram tour and being "attacked" by Jaws - freaky scary when you are 10 or 11 years old. (Sadly, I hear that the shark has been retired, probably
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Brendon Schrodinger
I have always loved the movie, and have wondered about the book for years. I must admit that Basil Fawlty reading this in bed in Fawlty Towers is a great advertisement for the novel. Anything that gets him throuugh the evening while his wife is on the phone must be a great read right?

While there are great similarities between the book and the movie, the book is less monster horror and more what the attacks do to the community. The character of Brody is younger and fitter in the book, and the rel
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Joe Valdez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley
This is a RARE thing for me to say...the movie is significantly better than the book. I was hoping to read this book and be able to experience my favorite scenes from the movie in more detail, but I was very disappointed. I understand that the book was the original idea and the movie came later, but they were different in so many ways. None of the major scenes from the movie were in the novel. None! The relationships between the characters were dramatically different. And the book focused a lot ...more
Erin (Paperback stash) *is juggle-reading*

“There's nothing in the sea this fish would fear. Other fish run from bigger things. That's their instinct. But this fish doesn't run from anything. He doesn't fear.”

I first read Jaws when I was teenager; of course by then I’d already seen the movie countless times. I remember finding it dry, dull, or not as good as the movie. Based on this year’s re-read, I still find the movie better, but the books earned more brownie points than it did the first time around. I think when I was younger the int
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Stylo Fantome
So .... I hated this book. I hated every single character, except for Brody. I found myself hoping - praying - that the shark would eat everyone, and his wife in particular. I can't think of another character in any other book that I've hated more than her. I could. not. stand her. She was HORRIBLE.

"But why four stars!?!?"

Because they weren't meant to be likable characters. She was a bitch. Hooper was an asshole. The towns people were stupid, full of prejudice, and dangerous. The shark was almos
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Benjamin Stahl
Opinions toward this book are very widely divided.
There are many people who adore this book, and everything it has to offer.

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But there are also many people who tend to muster nothing but sheer disregard, sometimes even hatred, for it.

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I can only guess that its many haters are those who loved the movie - which by all rights is an absolute classic - and were thus disappointed with the noticeable minimization of action in the novel. The movie is indeed a magnificent one - sadly underrated by most pe
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Stefan Yates
This is the book that launched the film that made us all afraid to go in the water! (And don't tell me that you can't instantly come up with John WIlliam's ominous theme music!)

Having seen the film multiple times (and having experienced the "ride" at Universal Studios,) I wasn't expecting too much to be surprising in the novel. I was wrong. Although the movie's plot follows the book fairly faithfully, what I was surprised with was the amount of tension that I felt while reading the book even tho
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Carol
3.5 Stars. Wow! So much different from the movie version with two additional sub-plots going on that I did not expect; a shocker of one with Ellen Brody at its center. While definitely not as suspenseful or terrorizing as the movie, still a worthwhile read!
Christine Blachford
I absolutely loved this. I’ve seen the film, naturally, and was pondering watching it again but instead I set about reading the book. It’s split into three parts, each with their own journey – the first introducing the terror of the shark, the second navigating the politics of closing the beaches, and the third getting out on that fishing boat to try and dispatch the creature.

Each one is different but they have a common theme of the overriding threat and the difficult position police chief Brody
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Steven
Spoiler alert----

First Time Ever---the movie was better than the book!

I liked this book, and might have liked it more had I never seen the movie or read the hype. But 30 years after release, it's hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

I was disappointed.

I have always admired the film for its lean pace. It is shark, from start to finish, with just the smallest bit of background and context to enliven the story of the main characters. The movie is a lean, taut, muscular tale of man versus beast
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Michael
The back cover of the audio book teased that if you'd only seen the movie version of "Jaws" but had never read the book, you were missing out on a lot of interesting subplots and characters that didn't make it into the final script.

After listening to the audio version of "Jaws," I can see why some of the subplots and characters were dropped. Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying that when he read the book, he found himself rooting for the shark because none of the human characters had any redeem
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Mike
The book that launched a phenomenon, but sadly reads like a teen's sex fantasy with this shark that just happens to be mucking things up for everyone.

On the set of the film, Benchley bitched about everything, but had they done a straight adaptation of his book, Jaws would have been a footnote in history rather than the blockbuster it was. The book is heavy-handed tripe for the most part, and seems centered more on Ellen Brody's vagina and what Matt Hooper wants to do to it than the shark!

I still
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Aric Cushing
A fun book, that, arguably does not hold up compared to the film. Which is, no doubt, rare. That being said, this is a fun, fast read, and delivers on a pulp level.
Becky
Jaws- I haven’t power read through a book this quick in ages. It was just engrossing.

This book is about more than a killer monster lurking beneath the waves (though those are some of my favorite scenes) it’s really about death and rebirth. Death of a small town (a creeping disease that during any sort of recession affects thousands of Americans slowly and quietly), death of our ambitions and honor (Mr. Vaughn is definitely a parable in himself of the dangers of doing business with one foot in t
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
I have a great deal of nostalgic fondness for this book about a great white shark stalking the beaches of a small summer island of Amity off the Atlantic.

My mother loaned the novel to me when I was about twelve. But she struck out words with black marker and tore out pages. So naturally I made note of the page numbers, went to the nearest bookstore where I found the book and turned to the (in)appropriate pages, found a bunch of swear words I was already well-acquainted with and read my first se
...more
Lynn
I first read JAWS in the early summer of 1975, shortly before the movie came out, which I saw four times. I was about thirteen, and I'd begged my mother to let me read the book. You have to understand, back then EVERYONE was reading it. They even had a special Scholastic Books version without the naked woman on the cover (and probably missing some profanity and intimate scenes, too).

So my mother let me read her copy of JAWS, complete with naked woman, but she put a paper clip over a short sectio
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Matt Carter
Most of the time you hear people complaining how the book was better than a film adaptation. Jaws is not one of those books. Stephen Spielberg's film adaptation of Jaws is one of the classic thrillers, tightly paced, incredibly tense, and ultimately focused on the character drama of three unlikely men teamed together to kill a man-eating shark. The book, on the other hand, lacks most of these. Sure, the character drama of three men and a shark is there, and it does make a solid attempt at being ...more
Lori
Finding Jaws on the library's new-release shelf was a surprise, one I couldn't walk away from. I'm not sure how I made it through my obsessed-with-thrills teenage years without reading it.

The new introduction by Bentley alone makes it worth picking up if you've ever seen the movie or read the book. It talks about how much science has changed in the years since its publication, how the book could never be written now because so much more is known about sharks, etc. It also gives a tiny bit on the
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Punk
Fiction. A shark comes to the seaside resort town of Amity, New York, but is discouraged by the town's class consciousness and ultimately decides to spend the summer elsewhere.

Not really.

UGGGGGGGGH. If I'm reading a thriller about a shark, I want a lot of shark! This did not give me enough shark. I wanted: MORE SHARK. And less: Social Stratification, Vapid and/or Hysterical Women, Pills, Mentions of Black Men Raping White Women.

I didn't care about any of the characters. Though maybe I wasn't m
...more
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Peter Bradford Benchley was an American author best known for writing the novel Jaws and co-writing the screenplay for its highly successful film adaptation. The success of the book led to many publishers commissioning books about mutant rats, rabid dogs and the like threatening communities. The subsequent film directed by Steven Spielberg and co-written by Benchley is generally acknowledged as th ...more
More about Peter Benchley...
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“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...” 28 likes
“There's nothing in the sea this fish would fear. Other fish run from bigger things. That's their instinct. But this fish doesn't run from anything. He doesn't fear.” 26 likes
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