I really had pretty high hopes or Jaws. I don’t know, how often I have seen the movie and although I love sharks (and I am actually trying to find a location for my next holiday where I can go shark diving to see those beauties at close quarters) I could watch it over and over again. So I couldn’t imagine, how awesome the book must be! If you are onboard up to this point, let me stop you from going any further. Jaws the book was absolute crap.
Oh my, thank God Carl Gotlieb was there, so Peter Benchley couldn’t write the screenplay for Jaws all by himself, I don’t even want to imagine, what a boring and weird movie this would have been. I cannot remember that I ever read a book filled with so much random and unnecessary violence against all sorts of animals – not just against all sharks, but also against dogs, cats, dolphins, every fish possible and even against sheep!
I had the feeling, that Benchley couldn’t decide who the protagonist should be. Although the story initially focuses pretty much on Brody, a lot of characters are introduced a little bit later and the story evolves around them, so in the end Brody is just kind of there, hanging around on the Orca and saying something like “Oh fuck!“ or “What are we going to do now?“ every other page, so you don’t forget that he is still there. There is a lot of story around Ellen (and I mean A LOT), her sexual frustration and her fantasies (why is this in there?), there is a lot of business talk around Larry Vaughn which has nothing to do with the actual plot and ends with a dead cat (wtf??), there are also two different reporters who show up and ask very obvious questions (the book includes even some of their articles) and trust me, there are many more. Hooper is there, alright, but his main function is to be there, so Brody can ask himself constantly if he is physically (and sexually) superior to him (way too much testosterone here, guys). And at some point in the last 100 pages, Quint shows up, who is a cruel weirdo who tortures helpless fish for fun (why is that even in the book??). Did you notice that there was no talk about the shark? So did I. There are hardly any sharks in Jaws!
The worst part about it is though, that this crappy book and of course the subsequent movie are responsible for the hysteria about great white sharks which led to the killing and slaughtering of millions of these beauties. But after reading Jaws, I am definitely not afraid of sharks or of going in any water, I am rather more afraid of what is going on in some peoples heads.