Ah yes, the classic book about….infidelity and the mob.
So I was thinking, well it’s almost summer and there’s a new audiobook edition of Jaws available through Overdrive and it should be a fun light adventure to pass the time on a Sunday.
But this book is not fun most of the time, barely about sharks when it really comes down to it, and directly and indirectly offensive throughout and in ways that not only don’t make any sense for the novel, but work directly against it.
So most of what you know from the movie is here. So as much as I love the movie, the movie and Steven Spielberg absolutely saved this novel from itself. Know what the movie didn’t think was important to a book about a shark terrorizes a coastal town? Casual and not so casual racism. So there’s several several moments throughout this book that refer to “Blacks” but more to the point discuss racial politics about a small town…about hiring a young Black man to work at the club to not upset “them” even though they really want to hire a “White”, one characters worries that if the town loses money from sharks and every has to get on welfare they’ll be known as “Harlem by the sea”. There a reference to a Black man raping several women and what we would now call the “PC Police” keeping him from getting in trouble.
Also, there’s a huge subplot in this book about Brody’s wife hating sex with him, feeling left out her old life, and hooking up with Hooper because he’s from her patrician old life. And then the whole relationship between Brody and Hooper is a “shark” measuring contest.
Also there’s a subplot about the mob being in control of the town’s finances and that’s why there’s so so much pressure to keep it open!
Spielberg is a genius. This book is a complete mess.