Most people have seen the movie Jaws but haven’t read the novel that the movie was based on by Peter Benchley. If you are a fan of the movie, then I definitely recommend the novel because a lot of stuff was removed for the movie.
Jaws is about a great white shark that is killing beachgoers in the fictional town of Amity that its located in Long Island, New York. Families travel to Amity during the summer but the great white’s presence and the beach closing down may detract travelers so the mayor tries to keep the attacks quiet. Police chief Martin Brody has to find a way to stop the shark or Amity will cease to be.
Amity relies on the tourist season for most of it’s income. Closing the beach means that many people will be uprooted. Now that you have gotten the overall premise of the book, let’s dive into the writing. My professor once said that journalists don’t usually translate to great writers. The way journalists right a story is rigid, factual-based and formulaic. They lack the creative freedom of writers and that makes sense because journalism follows strict guidelines. In this novel, you can see this firsthand.
The story is decent but it lacks character development and it is honestly a weird story. It’s about a shark but also has an odd subplot that feels at odd with the whole book. Jaws was a book Benchley wrote after American publishing company Doubleday commissioned him to in 1971. They made sure to have it included in many book clubs and it become a huge hit, spending 44 weeks on the bestseller list.
It is not the greatest writing but it isn’t wholly bad. As a first novel, Benchley did a decent job. However, he was commissioned to write it and that most likely forced the book to be as rigid as it is. It won’t change your life but definitely worth checking it out and seeing what the hype was about.