The classic novel that inspired Spielberg to a blockbuster hit; the town of Amity is under attack by a great white shark; inspired by several real-life incidents. And I’m sure you understand the rest.
Duuun dun ….duuun dun ….dun dun dun dun dun dun BOOM BOOM
Remember how much this classic sound made the hairs on the back of your neck rise up? A movie so powerful that there are legions of people that have refused to go into the water. Peter Benchley gives us a much darker, complex novel, driven by characterizations developed with a dynamic background that screams for no sympathy. Unlike the film, this novel presents us with a great balance between character perception and the general story of a man-eating, spine tingling shark. Benchley also creates an amazing undertone were the story of the shark attacking the village is a superb representation of the conflict between the higher class and lower class in Amity. Credits should definitely go towards the author, many would criticise this as being a soap styled pulp fic, but needless to say, the balance between the psychological impact this shark has made as well as the gritty violence, some intentional jokes here and there really bring this book to life. However, bordering more than just a class struggle, Benchley makes subtle statements about the sharks among us, and especially for the time the book was made; our culture reference of those who are takers, the revelations of a damned law, and those of the vast majority who abide by the book (no pun intended) and who have established expectations about their future. Aren’t we all just small fishes in big ponds?
I’ll be honest, Spielberg has spoilt the book for me with the film adaptation, which proved difficult to read with the constant music buzzing in my head, but all in all, it is a fantastic read for those looking for a deeper connection with the characters.
Whether you liked it or not, try isolating yourself into the novel, all I can say is do not read this one in the bath, you won’t only flail around in your tub and most likely damage the book or kindle, which ever your reading from.
I’ll admit something else, I have a phobia of sharks.