The movie adaptation of Jaws is my sister's favorite movie, and yet I've never seen it. However, it seemed like a perfect, though scary, read for summer, especially in conjunction with Discovery's Shark Week! And I have no plans of visiting the ocean this summer, which was even better, because though I logically know the odds of being bitten by a shark are minuscule and that the odds of being killed by one are even smaller, they're still scary. All those teeth!
As most people know, if you watch Jaws backwards it's a movie about a shark that throws up people until they open a beach. But if you read the book in its proper sequence, it's about the fictional town of Amity in New York that is plagued by a great white shark that appears off the coast one summer and starts killing people, putting the entire town in danger since the entire town relies on tourism and no tourists want to go to the beach and get eaten by a shark. It's not really a horror story, but it's definitely a suspenseful one because you're never entirely sure of who is going to live and who's going to die--but you always know exactly what's going on, there aren't any jump scares or things like that, which I think keeps it from falling into the horror category itself.
I was pleasantly surprised by the writing, for the most part, as well as the narration in the audiobook version. There was a lot of exposition about characters in the beginning which didn't seem necessary, and one very uncomfortable sequence involving some sexual fantasies of two of the characters--I mean, sure, have fantasies, but I certainly wasn't expecting that in this book and definitely hearing them was weird, which makes me think I never want to listen to a romance novel as an audiobook, and it was just so clearly written by a guy--but the book overall was good. The character of Quint was completely cliched, and it seemed like the affair between two characters was thrown in just to take up space during a time when the beaches were closed and the shark wasn't attacking anyone. Actually, the more that I list, the more that this book wasn't really good, but I'm still left with the feeling that I enjoyed it; I guess because, even though it had a lot of flaws, it was essentially exactly what it was supposed to be, and has aged surprisingly well for a book that was initially published in the 70s. Yes, this book and the movie it spawned has caused a lot of trouble for sharks worldwide--but hopefully in modern times people can read it with an eye as to what it actually is--entertaining, but not accurate as to what sharks are actually like.
3.5 stars out of 5!