Monday Book Review: Shark Trouble

While reading Everyday Editing, I came across some quotes from Shark Trouble by Peter Benchley. The book sounded super intriguing and totally something I could read to my son. Well I was right on one count anyway. LOL

For a little background, Peter Benchley wrote the book Jaws. He was a struggling author desperate to hit upon an idea that would get him a book deal. His agent kept sending him on these publisher lunches (oh the days gone by when…) where you eat with a bunch of editors and chat and try to work in the ideas you have for books in the hopes that someone says yeah, I’d be interested in that. No one was ever interested in his idea about a big fish book. But he kept throwing the bait out there and eventually…well you know how that went. Book. Film. Several more books. And a few guests spots on a TV show called American Sportsman.

That’s where Benchley starts this non fiction book. He’s in a shark cage being filmed interacting with a great white, all going swimmingly, until the shark gets the rope between the cage and the boat stuck in it’s teeth and this pisses the big fish off. He leaves you at the end of the first chapter with himself realizing he needs to cut the rope or he is a dead man. Benchley has been told in advance this happens sometimes and eventually the shark will bite through the rope but if the rope doesn’t come free and the cage is still attached to the shark, the shark will swim the cage down to the bottom of the ocean and bust it to smithereens.

He leaves you hanging and goes off to discuss a lot of other things about sharks. There are chapters on the ecological significance of sharks, which sharks he thinks are dangerous and how to handle it if you meet one while swimming/diving, when you should swim and when you shouldn’t, the media frenzy around shark attacks in 2001, a tiny mistake that almost got him killed on a dive, and yes he does finally explain how he survives the cage incident.

I did have to stop reading it to the kiddo when it got bloody. And the verbiage is a bit much for a young one even in the clean sections but I am good at reading in complicated prose and spitting out simple prose for the kiddo.

℘℘℘℘ – Four pages. I read a chapter a day to the kid for the first third of the book, decided it wasn’t appropriate to him and finished off the rest in one or two goes. I thought at times Benchley is a bit preachy and repetitive but over all it makes for a great read and I know a bit about to survive a shark attack if I ever go diving and encounter one. Which won’t happen because I don’t dive and have no intention of learning to do so (having once visited a semi-loved one in a decom chamber, well no thanks).

Then again, right now I’m snorkeling in the Caribbean, so maybe this book will come in handier than I thought.