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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2006
Although this is the personal account of a fourteen year old girl's experience of tragically losing her arm in a shark attack while surfing, and her subsequent fight back to health, fitness and surfing again, it should not by any means be categorised as a "children's book". The book is ghost written by a professional writer, and reads well and quickly. Bethany's courage and determination are an inspiration to anyone of any age. Her deep Christian faith, and that of her family as she describes their encouragement and support, are also inspirational. A book to be enjoyed at the time, and remembered long afterwards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2011
A true 'can't put it down' read. There is no gore or any part that induces nightmares. the imfamous shark attack is recounted in small portions throughout the story. this can safely be read by a mature 8yr old and is mature enough to engage older teens. It wouldn't harm to read it first before your child as you will be blown away by her courage, aswell as answer any of your childs questions.
As a parent of an 11 yr old elite gymnast I find it really hard to find books that relate and encourage her. This is a true tale that inspires us all. Bethany expresses her own faith with level headed maturity without pressure. she is just herself and certain of her faith. do not avoid this book in fear of being Bible-bashed because it won't happen!
Bethany was 13 yrs old when the incident happened but was back on her board in less than a month. Much of sport is about overcoming adversities for children yet there is not much material to encourage and inspire them. This does both and more.
As a youth worker Soul Surfer is loaded with material to use.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2005
This book is well written for children to understand. I'm 10 years old and I have just learnt to surf, this book really inspires me to get better at surfing. It also taught me to follow my dreams, no matter what happens. Believe in yourself and you can make them come true. Bethany Hamilton is now my heroine!!
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on 12 March 2015
Bethany Hamilton was a girl growing up on Kauai, Hawaii, training to be a professional surfer - until one day, a horrific shark attack nearly cost her her life. With impressive courage and exemplary faith in God, she overcame this injury to become a pro surfer in her own right.

This book seems to be Bethany all over. By that I mean, she's a courageous, positive thinker, characterized by her Christian faith, but she has a degree of reserve which means it's hard to truly see what she's thinking throughout the book. That's not a criticism. I respect that, being reserved and a 'private person' myself. But it's unusual for an autobiography to be co-written by someone who doesn't like talking about herself.

I was thinking her books would be more like those of Joni Eareckson Tada - with deep insight about how her injury affects her life, her inner feelings, frustrations and reactions, worked through to result in ultimate contentment and peace with God - notwithstanding that there are always going to be tests and problems that come up day-to-day. But Bethany's only 14 or 15 when she writes this, I suspect that in many ways she hasn't truly found who she is or wants to be in life yet, so she writes very much with a consciousness that shows she's not really used to life in the limelight yet.

This book is mainly about her day-to-day life, the shark attack, and what happened to her afterwards. There is a section talking about her faith in God and how He's helped her through - this isn't Bible-bashing, it's who she is! She wouldn't be the pro surfer she is today if God hadn't taken her in hand and given her the courage and perseverance to carry on. She's been used of God to spread His word, and she's been blessed in her life because of her stance - she's genuinely contented, and happy in who she is, without being at all narcissistic.

There is also a section in the book about the making of the Soul Surfer movie. This is interesting, especially if you have seen the movie - it's really good, much more of a story than the book and fairly sentimental, but it's well done and the book and movie complement each other well.

I hope that in the future, Bethany will write another book. A more mature one, telling about her feelings, her fears, and what helped her through these hard times, and how she's coped with the challenges since. I don't expect this will happen for some time, since she's got her own life to live now - married and with a baby on the way, she truly is blessed.
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This is not my normal sort of read, but every now and then a story just catches your eye, I first heard about Bethany's story on 'Ellen' the TV show, she had Bethany and Anna-Sophia Robb on to discuss the movie, of the same name. I am a massive fan of Anna-Sophia so I wanted to find out more. And what i found seemed totally inspiring and herat-felt that I was despereate to know more.
Living in the UK I haven't been able to see the film (comes out here 2nd July 2012 on DVD), and as a bookworm anyway I decided to request the book from the library.
It took forever to come but it arrived a couple of weeks ago. I finished a book last night and wanted something different and so picked this up. I have to just say that Bethany Hamilton is an inspiration, she really is.
For those of you who don't know her story, basically on October 31st 2003, Bethany (aged 13) was out surfing with her best friend when her left arm got bitten off by a shark, thanks to the quick reactions of those around her and by the grace of God, Bethany was treated quickly. She ended up with just a stump of her left arm remaining, but she didn't give up and was determined to get back on her surf board and help other people.
This book is told by Bethany, it recounts the whole incident and also the background of her life and her hopes for the future. It's written with pur honesty and an open heart, and I really admire her bravery. She faces every day with her head high and has refused to give up. She puts her faith in God and knows she is destined for something great, and as a Christian myself, I love how open she is about her religion.
I can see why she recieves so much fan mail and support, for someone so young she showed immense bravery and courage and also selflessness.
This book will touch your heart and mind and make you think about what you have in life. It's a very quick read, but definitely one that will stay with you.
If you want more information about Bethany, visit her website. It's well worth a visit.
So in case you had any doubts - I loved this book and would highly recommend it, I'm looking forward to the film even more now too, I know I will be crying!
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I finished this book inside an hour. I found it to be illuminating and interesting, elaborating on an incident I had previously only read about in magazines. Hamilton is a brave young woman and very 'matter of fact' about the incident that changed her life - a shark attack that left her with only one arm. The Christian aspect of it is very interesting, as someone who is not particularly religious it was interesting to see how religion has helped her overcome obstacles. My only criticism of this book is that it is a little simplistic, it seems to have been written for pretty young children.
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on 26 January 2012
as mum to a 12 year old elite gymnast I find it hard to find books that encourage her and make the natural sporty life natural and normal. Bethany had natural drive from a young age and this is the story of her fight to overcome the most extreme obstacle to success. Even with all the media attention Bethany has kept her integrity and remains a great example.
I have since bought other 'Bethany' materials to use with my youth work and they have been awesome.
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It's a pretty good book. It brings a bit of faith in you. Not necessarily religious faith, but just faith in general. If you're going through something and you feel like you won't ever get to the other end of the tunnel, this book can help you get more hopeful. There's one super cute line that's always stuck with me while she was talking about how she usually wears flip-flops: "YOU try tying your shoes with one hand" I really laughed at that! :D
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on 29 July 2012
This video is a must for anyone aiming to be fully alive. The basic attitudes of optimism, courage, living in contact with society and with nature, love, faith, family, together with a realistic look at the ups and downs of life, are blended together to give a celebration of life for all! The beautiful backdrops and the surfing shots give the film a freshness that makes it an enjoyable watch, even though the themes dealt with are quite tough!
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on 8 April 2013
I gave this book five stars because the story is truly remarkable and inspirational book that shows true people going through things no-one should go through an how there faith got them through it all, i would recommend this book to teenagers because i feel everyone should be told this story of faith, determination and human strength. I love this book please get it you will not regret it xx! G
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