Book Review: Jaws by Peter Benchley

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: A book set at sea Brief synopsis : When a shark begins attacking people in a small sea-...

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: A book set at sea

Brief synopsis: When a shark begins attacking people in a small sea-side summer town, the police chief has to make decisions between what's right and what will keep his town afloat.

We've all seen the movie, right? Killer shark kills summer folk. Except I hadn't seen it until last week after reading the novel it was based upon. Seriously - did you know Jaws was a novel before it was a movie and young genius Steven Spielberg made a masterpiece out of it?

There are some differences - like Chief Brody is actually a islander that grew up in the town of Amity. I can only assume the change took place to get rid of some really irrelevant pieces of the novel's storyline including mob ties and infidelity. The movie made the change really effortlessly to explain away changes from the book without changing the overarching plot line, and I'm really glad about it because I didn't love those pieces in the book.

In fact, the book held some really problematic pieces - such as racism (a product of the times, you would think, but the book was written in the 70s), uncomfortable infidelity, sexism in the fact that Ellen (Brody's wife) serves almost no purpose in the story whatsoever except as a product of anger and issues, and that's not to mention the apparent rape fantasy "all women have."

We can also talk about the endless fact that this novel sparked so many fears of sharks, who mostly don't attack people (seriously, it's supposedly more likely to get struck by lightning than to get attacked by a shark) and aren't truly attracted to women's menstrual cycles. (I will note Benchley wrote an introduction to the edition I read retracting a lot of those issues and problems faced in the book.)

But even through the problems, the book was an easy read with strong writing and an engaging storyline.

The book is finely written, but I would say (in this case), you could really just watch the movie and forego the book.

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  1. I never read the book, but I saw the movie and well... not really my thing! Thanks for the review!

    1. I was into it. I'm a fan of the gore and the action. Lol. Thanks for reading.