Soul Surfer

Bethany Hamilton

Rating: 5/5

Soul Surfer-Bethany Hamilton

In the book, Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton, when you read it, you will find yourself inspired by all of Bethany’s brave and bold moments. Bethany started surfing at the age of four and never stopped. She has grown up on the water, and she has been living her dream of being a professional surfer. She had everything she would have ever hoped for, a family who loves her, amazing surf skills, and a best friend named Alana Blanchard. On October 31st, 2003 everything was about to change for Bethany. When Bethany, Alana, Alana's brother, Byron and father, Holt, decide to drive to the Tunnels Beach (Napali Coast), something tragic and life changing happens to Bethany. Tunnels Beach was known to be one of the safest beaches in Hawaii, until this day. Just as Bethany and Alana are waiting for a wave to roll in, a massive shark chomps off Bethany’s arm and a chunk of her surf board. That shark not only took her arm away from her, but it took her hopes, dreams, and her confidence as well. Bethany decided to quit surfing because she felt it was impossible to surf with one arm, but she was wrong; it may be tough, but not impossible. When Bethany takes a trip to Mexico to help the families get back up after a tragic tsunami, she begins to be inspired by one little boy who is frightened by the water after the tsunami, kind of like Bethany after the shark attack. This little boy scarcely makes his way to the ocean... Soon enough he was in the water with his surfboard paddling around. A sudden spark of inspiration hit Bethany. She realizes that what had happened to her was awful and heart-breaking, but that shouldn’t stop her from doing what she’s most passionate about, surfing.

Social/Historical context:

Without a spark there’s no fire, without bees there would be no flowers, and without hope and inspiration, there would be no success. The book Soul Surfer is sending a clear message to the reader that giving up your dreams is not an option. As long as you try your hardest - even if you don’t succeed - something good will always come out of it. This book is Especially targeted at children growing up and figuring out what they love and what they want to do for their careers. Bethany's accident happened in 2003 and she was thirteen years old. That proves that children are strong enough to pick themselves back up, and believe in themselves. By reading this book, it reassured me that I can be whatever I want to be, and there will be obstacles to work past, but with support and drive, I can do anything.

Writing Style:

This novel is written in first person narrative, and is told through the main character/author Bethany Hamilton. Bethany explains her tragic story by describing her life before, during, and after the shark attack. There is also lots of dialogue with her family, and Alana’s family during the attack.

My Thoughts:

This novel really made me think deeper than any other book I have read. I aspire to one day be like Bethany Hamilton, not because of surfing, but becoming a powerful, inspiring, hopeful, woman. She is a woman with big dreams and hopes, and that is all you need. This is what allowed me to connect with Soul Surfer on a very personal level. Something I that I love about this book is that in the middle of it, there are a few pages where it has pictures of Bethany in her everyday life just like any other two armed child/woman. It gave me a better understanding of the novel by showing her life before and after she lost her arm. What I realized is nothing had really changed. She still had her friends, family, and her dreams. Overall, Soul Surfer was the most significant and relatable book I have ever read.

Book Reviewed by Natalie King

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