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3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  95,773 Ratings  ·  1,925 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 February 1974)
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Feliks Yes. It's really raw and graphic and GREAT. Anyone who says 'it adds nothing to the story' ...sorry, but they'e not digesting what they're reading.…moreYes. It's really raw and graphic and GREAT. Anyone who says 'it adds nothing to the story' ...sorry, but they'e not digesting what they're reading. Not at all. People! Try to understand! Benchley structures his story on a Biblical allegory. If you take away the sexual affair between Hooper and Ellen, then the core of the story --islanders, men who live from the sea--men and men's loyalty--these themes, these meanings, and the structure of the novel overall--will crumble to nothing. The affair is a vital part of the story; giving it depth, texture, and dimension. How do residents of an island community live? What do they think about? What are their lives like? That's why it's in there. Otherwise what you have is a thin story pretty much like a knock-off of Herman Melville. (less)
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I Only Watched the Movie!
75th out of 967 books — 5,649 voters
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The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
28th out of 878 books — 9,374 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 29, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, book-to-film
”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 AGAIN after seeing that movie. I’m not a water person. Growing up in the landlocked Midwest I prefer to be able to see the bottom of whatever body of water I happen to be i
Ana {The Good Gif Fairy}
My spirit animal is the great white shark. I've loved them for as long as I can remember. To most people, puppies are the epitome of cuteness. To me, it's great white sharks.

How can you look at this face and not go 'aww'

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Sharks are probably the most misunderstood species on Earth.

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They do not need or deserve our fear, they need our love.

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Great whites don't have easy lives. The youngsters are left to fend for themselves right after birth. They are left to discover everything on their own. No k
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

2.5 Stars

“That fish is a beauty. It’s the kind of thing that makes you believe in a god. It shows you what nature can do when she sets her mind to it.”

Houston commercial photography

I’m getting ready to write a sharky review . . . .

Houston commercial photography

Alright. Now that THAT is done, let’s get to the sad state of affairs which is my reaction to the novel Jaws. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this review – mainly because I’m bummed out. I was sure I would love this book and
Dec 05, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it
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.

That was my fi
First I want to thank Steven Spielberg for ruining the fun with swimming in lakes as a child. because of course there could be sharks in Sweden. Second, I want to thank him for letting Ellen Brody be a background character in the movie so the movie wasn't ruined by that F*****g bitch.

Jaws is one of my favorite movies. So it's kind of strange it has taken me this long to read the book. I remember that my brother had the book and I was curious about it, but I just never read it. I remem
Who doesn't know the famous Spielberg movie with a shark as the big bad guy who wreaks terror on an entire town, with three men going on a mission to kill the shark before he kills even more people?

Just one year before the release of the movie, Peter Benchley's novel Jaws was published which the movie was adapted from. (Personal confession here: I never watched the movie, so there was nothing I could compare the events in the novel with. I practically went into it blank apart from the knowledge
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

A whole generation was scared off from swimming in the ocean by the Spielberg film based on this book. Embarrassingly, I have to say my own reaction was even more extreme. It was the early 90s and I must have been about 7 when I watched Jaws for the first time on VHS, and for an entire week I refused baths because I was terrified little great whites were going to pour out of the faucets and eat my face. I was an especial
Paul Nelson
Jul 14, 2015 Paul Nelson rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-books-read
Jaws or 'the fish' as he prefers to be known is one big ass, mean motherfucking, rip toothed, man eating great white shark whose sole job is to harass the swimmers at Amity beach to the point where no-one dare go in the water and the livelihood of everyone in the town is severely under threat.

So what makes him perfectly qualified for this role, well he's got big fucking teeth, swims like a torpedo and has developed a taste for reading swimmers, boats and fishermen. Reading, Woah, autocorrect err
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... :)
Jul 30, 2016 Joca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...”

Houve um filme que me assombrou a infância, mais especificamente as idas à praia. Nele havia um tubarão gigante e bem esfomeado. Os anos passaram e sinceramente nunca tive vontade de correr atrás do filme até que percebi que era baseado num livro publicado em 1974 (curiosamente a minha edição é desse ano! E por falar em edição, ele chegou a ser editado em Portugal como "Tubarão" mas penso que só se consegue encontrar em segunda mão. M
Andrew Breslin
Aug 23, 2012 Andrew Breslin rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 06, 2012 Stephen rated it did not like it
Shelves: pop-lit
“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
Aug 18, 2010 Idolwasp89 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 04, 2013 Miriam rated it it was ok
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
Joe Valdez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Monn
Jul 22, 2016 Peter Monn rated it it was amazing
Hands down one of my new favorites. So much scarier and in depth am than the film. Check out my full review on my Booktube channel at
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

“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 read Jaws when I was teenager, and of course I’d already seen the movie countless times. I remember finding it a dry, dull story that couldn't touch the movie. Based on this year’s re-read, I still find the movie better, but the book has earned new brownie points. When I was younger, some of the intricacies of the marriage subplot
Jan 03, 2010 Slayermel rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jay Green
Sep 14, 2016 Jay Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this on holiday in Torquay in 1976 as an excited/excitable 14-year-old. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Nandakishore Varma
The first part was frightening.

The middle part dragged, but had lots of sex (yeah, I know, but I read it when I was sixteen, and in Kerala in 1979, that was a lot of sex...)

The last part was again frightening.

I have since then read a lot of "man-against-monster" novels (and seen a lot of movies on the same theme), but this one, I think, still takes the cake.

At the time of reading this I couldn't believe that people could be so stupid as to close their eyes against obvious danger. Now I know bett
Martin Rondina
Mar 02, 2016 Martin Rondina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hacía mucho tiempo que tenía ganas de leer esta historia, siendo sincero me daba mucha curiosidad cómo se podía escribir una novela donde el protagonismo cayera sobre un tiburón, por suerte lo descubrí y fué fantástico.
En Jaws conoceremos al pueblo de Amity, una localidad costera que su sustento económico principal es el turismo, sobre todo en la estación de verano y el 4 de Julio. Pero un día este pueblo perderá la paz y tranquilidad que lo caracteriza, una joven que se encontraba en la pla
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
Matt Garcia
Apr 06, 2015 Matt Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 06, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
"He'll be coming now ... Come fish," he purred. "Come fish. Come get your supper."

What I took away from this book:


It was about two years ago that I say the movie Jaws. And I remember my little brother and I sitting on the couch, screaming our heads off while having a great time. This was so different than the movie! This had a lot of romance and even Mafia stuff.

I read this book for some of this:


But instead, I got a whole lot of this:


And the sad part is that the book started off amazing!

Stylo Fantome
Oct 19, 2014 Stylo Fantome rated it really liked it
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
Brendon Schrodinger
Jun 22, 2013 Brendon Schrodinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, the-ocean
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
Sep 06, 2016 Erika rated it liked it
I'd rather watch the movie.
Asghar Abbas
Jun 03, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it liked it

Neatly arranged in parts, bourgeois nightmares and marital insecurities bookended by nature's horror. It was scary. More complex than its movie and I wish the movie hadn't inspired so many shark killings, they are endangered now and the book and the movie didn't help with the sharks' image.

Also, fishes avenging cuckolded husbands was a little bit fishy but like I said, neatly arranged book .
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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
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“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.” 30 likes
“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...” 30 likes
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