Brad's Reviews > Jaws

Jaws by Peter Benchley
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it was ok
bookshelves: forty-for-2012-personal-challenge, doing-the-dishes, in-the-shower, hackosaurids, personal-mythology, popular-culture
Read 2 times. Last read August 19, 2012 to August 29, 2012.

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 wasting away in the tiny beach town, and she pines for what once was. (view spoiler).

Jaws is the tale of shady land speculation, organized crime and local governmental corruption, wherein another poor local boy "makes good," becomes Mayor, becomes one of the "nouveau riche," then winds up putting lives at risk to save his own skin and pay his bad debts.(view spoiler).

Oh yeah ... Jaws is also the tale of a killer shark that starts eating swimmers off the coast of Amity. Chief Brody, Matt Hooper and Quint (the infamous modern Ahab captured so wonderfully by Robert Shaw in Spielberg's movie, although he only shows up in the book in the last eighty pages after one brief half page cameo early on) go out and try to save the people and Amity's economy by catching the greatest of great white sharks. (view spoiler) It all feels like an afterthought, a tacked on third act of a book that never knew what it wanted to be, and the total lack of closure as the novel ends is pretty disappointing.

Once again, the movie proves to be better than the book. Much, much better.

Glad I reread this, though. A woman I loved told me to read this again, once upon a time, and I promised I would. It took a decade, but I lived up to the promise.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 9, 2009 – Shelved
January 1, 2012 – Shelved as: forty-for-2012-personal-challenge
August 19, 2012 – Started Reading
August 29, 2012 – Shelved as: doing-the-dishes
August 29, 2012 – Shelved as: hackosaurids
August 29, 2012 – Shelved as: in-the-shower
August 29, 2012 – Shelved as: personal-mythology
August 29, 2012 – Shelved as: popular-culture
August 29, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by B0nnie (new)

B0nnie Great - another one for my list of "the movie proves to be better than the book". It's a short list.


message 2: by Gary (last edited Aug 29, 2012 04:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary I thought the movie was fantastic, but I also really liked the book. The first time I read it I couldn't put it down, cause I was a kid,and I loved the scenes with the shark.
The chapter with Ellen and Hooper, well, it was one of my first type reads that made me feel horny.....ha!

I reread it a few years ago. It read quick , it kept my interest, but somehow the magic was not there as before......... the movie is awesome. Spielberg did an amazing job cause the mechanical shark hardly worked,and the way he filmed it with you seeing things from the shark's eye, truly made it that much more horrifying.

If you want a fast quick , trashy novel, type read,without much of a challenge, then this is the book for you......it is fun,at least.


Gary FOREST GUMP was a much better movie then the book. I thought the book was terribly disappointing,but the movie is one of my all time favs.


Nancy The movie was a lot of fun, but I enjoyed the book too. It bothered me a little when laughter erupted during the part when the guy in the rowboat gets his leg bitten off and it's spinning toward the bottom of the ocean.

I'm feeling a little guilty about not reading The Kryptonite Kid, a gift from a guy I broke up with 22 years ago.


Kelly H. (Maybedog) I have books that were gifts that I haven't read, too. But sometimes they just aren't my type of book. Frequently they're books I would like to have read, but I don't want to go through the process.


Helen (Helena/Nell) Totally agree. The movie terrified me when I first saw it. Never felt the same about swimming in the sea since.

I love the story in your last paragraph. Perhaps all book reviews have a personal tale concealed (or open) in them somewhere.


Emily Halford I totally agree with you the movie is so much better than this book, it's far to jumbled and inconsistent!


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