Shark Trouble review


Goodreads was rather wordy on this one:

Master storyteller Peter Benchley combines high adventure with practical information in Shark Trouble, a book that is at once a thriller and a valuable guide to being safe in, on, under, and around the sea. The bestselling author of Jaws, The Deep, and other works draws on more than three decades of experience to share information about sharks and other marine animals.

“Shark attacks on human beings generate a tremendous amount of media coverage,” Benchley writes, “partly because they occur so rarely, but mostly, I think, because people are, and always have been, simultaneously intrigued and terrified by sharks. Sharks come from a wing of the dark castle where our nightmares live—deep water beyond our sight and understanding—and so they stimulate our fears and fantasies and imaginations.”

Benchley describes the many types of sharks (including the ones that pose a genuine threat to man), what is and isn’t known about shark behavior, the odds against an attack and how to reduce them even further—all reinforced with the lessons he has learned, the mistakes he has made, and the personal perils he has encountered while producing television documentaries, bestselling novels, and articles about the sea and its inhabitants. He tells how to swim safely in the ocean, how to read the tides and currents, what behavior to avoid, and how to survive when danger suddenly strikes. He discusses how to tell children about sharks and the sea and how to develop, in young and old alike, a healthy respect for the ocean.

As Benchley says, “The ocean is the only alien and potentially hostile environment on the planet into which we tend to venture without thinking about the animals that live there, how they behave, how they support themselves, and how they perceive us. I know of no one who would set off into the jungles of Malaysia armed only with a bathing suit, a tube of suntan cream, and a book, and yet that’s precisely how we approach the oceans.” No longer. Not after you’ve read Shark Trouble.

OK, so I have always loved this book – this must be my eighth or ninth time reading it.  I bought it for Nook so my son could read it.  I hope he does.  Benchley adds humor along with wonderful facts about the ocean and sharks in general.

Having written Jaws – the book/movie that raised shark terror throughout the world – Benchley decided he should get to know the truth about the magnificent Great White.  His book sent fisherman out to slaughter the great beasts though there is little factual information in the book/movie.  He makes up for that in this book.

He doesn’t just teach us about the sharks or the fundamentals of surviving in the ocean – he also adds his own personal experiences full of mistakes and accidents.  Whether dangling in a shark cage or swimming with hammerheads, Benchley works to dispel the ugly rumors he, himself, had started back over 20 years ago with a little work of fiction.

Benchley also explains rip tides and undercurrents – how to avoid them and how to get out of them should one sweep you off your feet before you realize what is happening.  So many people die from these phenomena when they are survivable if you know what to do.  Thanks to Benchley, we do.  Also he explains bobbing in the water in case your ship sinks and you are going to be treading water for hours, perhaps days, waiting for a rescue.  Very interesting stuff.  🙂

Great book and a must if you live by the ocean or are planning an extended stay there.  He has a more updated version of the book and changed the title to Shark Life so don’t be deceived into thinking they are two completely different books.

I easily give this book an A.  Quite a good read!


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