Friday, 24 August 2012
Review: Jaws by Peter Benchley
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Released: July 5th, 2012 (republished)
It was just another day in the life of a small Atlantic resort until the terror from the deep came to prey on unwary holiday makers. The first sign of trouble – a warning of what was to come – took the form of a young woman's body, or what was left of it, washed up on the long, white stretch of beach . . . A summer of terror has begun.
Peter Benchley's Jaws is one of those books I kind of forgot existed, thanks in part to the brilliant film overshadowing it. I saw the film at the cinema a few months ago and it reminded me what a great story it is. The book was £1.09 on Kindle a few weeks ago so I bought it straight away. I'm glad I read it but I think the screenplay was better and I'm sad to say it isn't a book that has stuck in my head.
I didn't like Brody and Hooper's characterisation in the novel, I thought Brody's wife was insufferable and that there wasn't enough shark action. The beginning started off well with the first shark fatality, but the middle section lagged and I was willing something to happen. Benchley had a tendency to ramble in this book, and to be honest I could have done without it. Saying that, the latter part of the book was tense and exciting and I could finally see where the film got its quality from.
Benchley's knowledge of the sea and great white sharks made for interesting reading, and I liked learning more about this species and it's feeding patterns etc. I'm personally quite terrified of the thought of meeting a great white (I never go near water so that won't happen!) as I'm sure many other people are. Jaws is basically a nightmare of a book and one that would put people off swimming for life!
While I enjoyed elements of this book, and the last quarter in particular, I'm not sure it's one I'd immediately recommend as a random read. I do prefer the film and it's genuinely clever script, though the original novel is an interesting read for fans of the big screen adaptation.