As I have discussed in my posts about visiting Martha’s Vineyard, watching the play “The Shark Is Broken“, My Top Movies and TV Shows, and No Escaping Jaws, “Jaws” is my favourite movie. Recently I read, for the first time, the original book by Peter Benchley. I have many other Jaws-related books – most of which I got before I started putting reviews on this page. Another which I got recently is “The Making of the Movie Jaws” by Edith Blake.
The edition of the book that I have is from 2020, the 45th anniversary edition which contains additional photographs compared to the original and a new chapter.
I have very mixed feelings about the book. And I feel like I have to start with the negatives first. This is one of the worst edited books that I have ever come across.
Let’s start with the text. I started spotting a number of errors quite early on. Silly little mistakes. The sort of mistakes that you could imagine being made and not picked up on in the days when people were using typewriters rather than computers. I thought that perhaps, then, these errors were a carry-over from the original edition to help maintain that feel (though if this was the case, a note about this in the introduction, as I did with my book “Osutaka” in which I decided to maintain errors that were contained in the original diary upon which much of the book is based, would have been helpful).
Gradually, however, I began to realise that it was likely that the errors were no from the original text, but just a really bad job of editing. The final proof of this came on page 47…
“Suddenly, an in no understandable way, the congestion increased when the entourage of encamped trucks and attendant confusion was enhanced by the other know okay okay the code is 7310 to get into it as I have a code on exam work email on it now”
Now, the excellent “Jaws for a Minute” podcast has (jokingly… I think) pointed out how Jaws is a time-travel movie due to some slips in its timeline, but really? Edith Blake had email in 1975? Amazing. Or to put it another way, an amazingly dreadful piece of editing. I get the impression from this bit of text that the editor was a student – like many of my own students they seemingly didn’t go back through their own work and check everything was OK before submission.
And then we come to the photographs. There may be more than the original version, but most are bordering on useless. They may have looked good on a colour PC screen, but that doesn’t work in a greyscale book. The conversion and altering needs to be done before hitting print. Also the dpi looks very low – not of proper publishing quality.
Putting aside these problems, the book is great – although I admit a lot (unsurprisingly) was quite familiar due to being used in other books on the making of Jaws. But I cannot recommend that anyone buys this book until the errors are sorted out. Customers who got this awful version should get a free copy of an update and the current one should be withdrawn from sale straight away.
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