Monday, June 13, 2011

Soul Surfer - Bethany Hamilton

Soul Surfer
Bethany Hamilton
MTV: Mti Rep
Copyright: March 1, 2011
978-1439165799

The Amazon.com product description:
She lost her arm in a shark attack and nearly died, but she never lost her faith. Now a major motion picture, Soul Surfer is the moving story of Bethany Hamilton’s triumphant return to competitive surfing and has continued to be a beacon of inspiration to all who hear it.
They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? Or that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a teenage girl with God on her side, resolutely pushing aside her pain and panic while being rescued and brought back to shore. “When can I surf again?” was the first thing Bethany asked after her emergency surgery, leaving no doubt that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of personal empowerment and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing, perhaps even less so, than the soul. 
I'd wanted to see Soul Surfer when it came out as a movie earlier this year, but never got around to it, so when I had the chance to read the book, I jumped at it. I have to say, I'm most definitely impressed with Bethany and what she's chosen to do with the life she's been given.

I'm also quite impressed with the book. When she first wrote it, Bethany was just fourteen. Now, with this edition, it looks as though she's a few years older, but still... impressive. On the other hand, the font size is quite large, which fleshes the book out somewhat. Something I don't normally like, but in this case, it's understandable.

Although the book is located in the Biography section of the bookstore, it's equally readable for anyone over the age of about eight (and probably interesting to that entire age range too). Not just for adults, and not too graphic at all. You don't have to know anything about surfing either to enjoy the book (I certainly don't). One other thing I found really neat was reading more about life in Hawaii. Probably because that's where I vacationed a couple of months ago, though on the island of Oahu rather than Kauai.

This is a movie tie-in edition, but I think that makes it the more interesting for once. There's actually a fair bit of new material as I understand it - more photos, interviews with the actors from the movie and also a movie diary from Bethany's perspective.

Personally, I found the Christian emphasis of the book to be a bit strong for my tastes, but that's just my feeling and bias coming through, and I will admit that.

The other thing about the book is that it's not exactly in chronological order. Bethany jumps around her life, going from this story back to the attack and the aftermath then jumps to another event and back. It's still interesting and very readable though.

Soul Surfer is a quick read, but an interesting one. I may still have to get my hands on the movie once it's out in DVD. Recommended for all ages.
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