Today's review is of a non-fiction book involving *insert Jaws theme here* SHARKS!!!!
Author: Peter Benchley
I stumbled across this book when I was strolling through the library. It had 3 things going for it that ultimately led me to pick it up. 1) I have a strange fascination with sharks. 2) It was written by Peter Benchley who wrote Jaws. I have 2 other books by him that I have not yet read but plan to. I read Jaws and while it wasn't the best book ever and though I preferred the movie adaptation, I wanted to see what else he had to say about sharks. 3) My library card had just one slot left and this was the one I wanted to pick up most. (It was a hard choice between Shark Trouble and The Odyssey of KP2, but I ended up picking up KP2 on my next trip. A review for that will follow in a few weeks.)
Shark Trouble is a short, quick read full of interesting information regarding not only sharks, but the ocean overall as well. It is divided into 15 chapters, which are divided into 3 parts. Its very handy to pace yourself when reading. Provides good stopping points while still covering plenty of pages (for those of you who need pacing while reading). It starts off with the introduction of course, going over what he will discuss. Then starts with a very interesting story, spread out in 3 sections of the first part. I was hooked on this story and wanted to see what would happen. He also talks about what we actually know about sharks (very little) and discusses a bit of how Jaws came to be. I found that rather interesting and very surprising. The next part talks about some different types of sharks and how to swim safely in the sea. This I found exceptionally good. I don't go to the beach very often, but when I do I'm always concerned about having some sort of accident. Reading this book and hearing about the different things to look out for will definitely help me to enjoy myself more and be more confident the next time I have a vacation and find myself by the ocean. Finally, Benchley mentions other animals besides sharks that you should be careful for when out in the ocean and the dangers they can present.
Overall, I found this book really enjoyable and informative. I feel like I have a better understanding of certain oceanic aspects. I especially liked the personal stories that Benchley included from his own experience as a certified diver. I was surprised to find that he, his wife, their daughter and two sons were all certified divers. One son was certified by the age of 10. As I live in the desert, I do not know many divers, nor have I ever been diving myself. I have considered it many times but never really thought I would do it. It seems rather terrifying and I think I would find myself much more comfortable snorkeling (always with caution of course for those other creatures mentioned). I was stunned to hear all the stories and especially the ones that involved his family. Those were really neat. He had a lot of cool and interesting experiences.
Among the extra creatures he mentions are moray eels (I finally found out why they open and close their mouths as often as they do!) Whenever I would see one in an aquarium I noticed they would repeatedly open and close their mouths and it looked rather curious. Why do they that? Now I know and I'm glad I do! Within the pages of this book you will also find orcas, barracudas, rays and squid. There's even a story I found kinda funny about a dolphin he happened to encounter somewhere. It was so horrible but too out there of a story for me not to laugh. He survived so its ok.
This book is definitely worth a read, if only for chapter 8 (regarding swimming safety). The table of contents is very well outlined and I'm actually finding it to be extremely helpful as I'm writing this review. I rarely use the table of contents when I read books, but this one is very well done and convenient. I feel like I learned more by reading this book and I feel like diving could actually be fun, given you stay observant, respect the ocean and its creatures, and be prepared for anything to happen. I still wouldn't do it just yet though.
I think that this book would be very good for anyone who likes sharks, the ocean, diving and is interested in learning more about each thing. Those who enjoy personal stories especially. Also, anyone who is curious about any of those things could pry get a lot from it. Or, if you just wanna be taken away to the ocean for a little while. I found myself feeling rather far away from my bed while reading this book. Came very close to just diving into the water for a quick swim when I realized I was still on dryland far away from large bodies of water. For a little extra fun, google "Jenny Haniver." I had never heard of these before, and I don't much like the concept overall, but it was definitely strange and I learned something new.
I can't give it a 5 because it didn't have that little something extra that I can't explain, but that some books have; also I think there could've been a lot more added into this book. I would've liked a few more stories and tips on diving in shark areas, but I suppose that what he covered is enough to satisfy me for now. If anything I could look for another book on that particular topic instead. However, I did enjoy it a whole lot making it more than a 4. Therefore, I'd say Shark Trouble is a 4.5.
Enjoyable and informative, Shark Trouble is worth a glance. There are a lot of parts in this book that I will remember for a while.
Thanks for reading this review, another will be coming soon!