Monday, May 23, 2005

Soul Surfer

Soul Surfer: a true story of faith, family and fighting to get back on the board by Bethany Hamilton with Sheryl Berk and Rick Bundschuh, 2004

Fourteen year old Bethany Hamilton became a celebrity overnight when a shark bit off her left arm while she was surfing one October morning in 2003. Written in a simple narrative style, Bethany describes her love for her family and surfing as well as her life before and after the shark attack. Living in Hawaii, she comes from a family of surfers. She discusses her faith in God and the strength she finds in her relationship with Jesus Christ.

Her description of the events of that morning are the stuff of nightmares, "suddenly there was a flash of gray." Bethany's father was awaiting knee surgery in the local hospital operating room when the news came in that a young girl had been attacked by a shark and the room was needed for that emergency. He said later he knew in his heart it was his daughter. The quick thinking of her friends and appearance of a paramedic on the scene helped save her life. There is no doubt though that her survival was miraculous. She learned later that she lost almost half her blood volume.

In many ways she is amazed at the interest her story has generated. She does convey her deep faith and hopes that her experiences will serve a greater purpose and help others in times of trouble in their lives.

She is just a kid so do not expect high falutin' prose but this is a touching story and the chapter that describes her return to surfing for the first time is quite moving.

Bethany Hamilton's website

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