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Jaws Audible – Unabridged

3.9 out of 5 stars 460 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book over the winter break (actually I read it in a day while it rained outside) and I have to say that it was very entralling. Having seen the movie a dozen times over and never getting tired of it, I thought I'd check out the book because a friend told me that the book was different. How different? Well, let's just say that except for Quint (and even he's kind of different in the book) the main characters all seem very different from the characters in the movie. The Chief is not a NYC sophisticate, but is more of a former beat cop whose "dream" was to one day become chief of police in Amity. His wife is not as devoted as she is in the movie. Hooper the shark expert is also somewhat different and this book is interesting because the people are interesting, while the shark is sort of a looming natural threat like a hurricane or earthquake. The basic plot is similar as the washed up corpse of a girl is found on the beach, but then it totally veers off into a different story. And that's a good thing because it felt like I was reading an unpredictable book and not a retread of the movie. I probably would have stopped reading the book if it had been exactly the same as the movie because why bother if you know what's going to happen? I can see why this book was such a major blockbuster as it is quite fascinating to read. The knowledge about sharks does seem very dated (but then a quarter of a century will do that), but isn't that bad. I recommend this book because it is not like the movie in many ways and will surprise the reader and it's almost like a parallel world to the movie version which I appreciated.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Imagine it's 1975 and you're Peter Benchley. You've just published your first novel, a tale about a nasty shark that is an immediate success. Then along comes some guy named Speilberg, and suddenly its his "Jaws" everyone is talking about.

Talk about sharkbite. Ouch!

Making matters worse is that the book is very different from the movie, in many minor and a few major respects. People reading "Jaws" after seeing the movie may scratch their heads seeing the character Richard Dreyfuss played in the movie having a fling with Roy Scheider's wife, or how differently the final confrontation on the "Orca" turns out.

Steven Speilberg definitely improved upon it, but "Jaws" is still a good book, at times very much so. If you can set aside your memory of the movie and try to read this with fresh eyes, you will find yourself enjoying the book, and perhaps even feel, as I do, a little grateful it isn't just a novelization of what was on screen.

Speilberg had the best take on "Jaws" the novel when he said the characters in it are so unlikable he pulled for the shark. I think Benchley wanted exactly that effect. If so, he succeeds. The central character in the novel as in the film, Chief Brody, is lunkheaded if sympathetic. His wife, Ellen, feels shackled not because of the feminist urges then roiling the social scene but because she's a rich girl who married down and now has regrets about the Hampton cocktail soirees she passed up. The citizens of the town, named Amity perhaps ironically, are so cold-blooded they want the beaches kept open, shark or no, because otherwise they lose their summer trade. The mayor is in with the Mob.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's easy to look down our nose at this book today and say it's not great but to do so is to totally ignore the perspective of WHEN it was written. In the early 70s, Jaws was totally original, totally fresh. The point of view from the shark had never been done before and to see it was exhilirating.

I agree with others who pooh-pooh this book for the cheap, soap opera-ish romance between Cooper and Brody's wife; even back then, this wasn't particularly well done, nor did it serve to advance the plot. That's why it was completely removed from the film version, so the movie could focus completely on how do we deal with the menacing shark.

Still, Jaws was and always be one of the great thrillers of all time - both as a book and a movie. Peter Benchely was a master who, ironically, ended up dedicating his life to shark preservation after villifying them with this book. How sad to learn of his passing earlier this year. But everyone should read Jaws! Book lovers and movie lovers alike; it gives us all a great sense of where the truly great stories come from.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I saw the novelization for Jaws: The Revenge at the local book shop I was happy, there hadn't been one since Hank Searls's fine novel version of Jaws 2. However after seeing the horrid movie I was uncertain of actually bothering to waste valuable time reading the book based on the movie's ludicrous script. Onlly the fact Searls, a fine novelist, had come back to write another Jaws novelization made me rethink my junking of the book. In the end it was a decision well made.
Searls, being an intelligent writer, makes a sincere and commenable effort to, once again, create more than just a movie script in the book form. He takes us inside the heads of the characters and creates motives for their actions. He even creates a plausible (albeit supernatural) reason for the shark to only want to attack members of the Brody family. In an interesting twist Searls uses segments from his novel version of Jaws 2 for Ellen Brody's memories of Sean's childhood at his funeral, in the film they were scenes for the original Jaws (events of Jaws 2 are never mention and references to the shark are singular, apparently the two preceeding sequels never happened). I recommend reading this book as an original novel and skipping the movie, unless you like subjecting yourself to pathetic Hollywood misfires.
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