Sunday, July 31, 2011

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton, Rick Bundschuh, and Sheryl Berk

For me this is something wholey new.  I don't think I've ever read an autobiography before, with the possible exception of the Diary of Anne Frank (I don't think it's considered an autobiography but it's as close as I've ever come) when I was in highschool.  I'm not entirely sure how to go about this review.

Do I critique the writing?  Bethany had help writing it, sure, but it's not like she's a professional writer or anything. The story, then? It's what happend, right?  It doesn't really have "story" elements. The emotional tone of the book?  Maybe, but again how would she go about setting this?  I mean, as with the story elements, things happend the way they happend.

Eh... regardless.... I liked this book.  It isn't beautifully written, it's more like she's talking to the reader than "telling" her story.  If I didn't know it was a true story, I might call bull on certain elements, but the fact is, her story is pretty well documented in writings, interviews, and actual footage.  It's amazing that a thirteen-year-old girl comported herself the way she did in the wake of what happened to her.  It's because of this, I think, that I so thoroughly enjoyed reading her story.

I guess I'm not giving much away (considering the cover of the book) when I say that Soul Surfer is the story of Bethany Hamilton and how she handled losing an arm during a tragic shark attack in Hawaii.  Bethany was well on her way to becoming a professional surfer when the attack happend.

My first exposure to Bethany's story was a few years back during Shark Week on discovery channel.  I'm pretty sure her story was covered in one of the shark attack documentaries.  Since that time, a documentary dedicated specifically to telling Bethany's story was produced.  I haven't seen it, but I really want to.  A major motion picture was release several months ago and comes out on DVD Tuesday, August 2, 2011.  I really wanted to see it when it released in the theaters, but we never got around to it.  Bethany's story is incredibly uplifting and I heartly recommend checking it out in one media or another.


I would never wish for this kind of adversity on any person, but I will say, that if it had to happen to someone, Bethany Hamilton was an ideal choice.  I hope that doesn't come across as callous, because it certainly isn't meant to.  I say it because there aren't many people in the world who are as well equipped to deal with tragedy as this young woman was.

As the title indicates, Bethany has a strong religious foundation that served to buoy her through what hopefully was the darkest period she will face in her life.  Her parents are both very positive people that taught their children, from their earliest days, that dedication, perseverance, a positive attitude and, above all, faith will get you through just about anything.  I'm not particularly religious, in fact, I'm an athiest, but I respect people who are religious and appreciate the personal power that faith brings to true believers.

If you decide to read this book or watch the documentary or motion picture, expect to receive a strong Christian message because that is the reason that Bethany and family decided to get her story out.  The video clip below is NOT the documentary I referred to above (that one is entitled Heart of a Soul Surfer and I believe is feature length) but it is a great interview with footage of her surfing both before and after the attack.  It's a great introduction to who Bethany was, who she is now (as of 2009) and who she hopes to be in the future.

Also check out Bethany Hamilton's web site and if you're curious as to how her pro surfing career has progressed, take a look at ASP Women's Rankings (at the time of this writing, she was ranked 43 in the world).


No comments:

Post a Comment