Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on Board by Bethany Hamilton with Sheryl Berk and Rick Bunschuh. New York: MTV Books/Pocket Books, 2006. 222 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4165-0346-0.
When Bethany Hamilton was thirteen years old she was attacked by a tiger shark which left her with only one arm. Bethany's dream was to be become a professional surfer. It now looked like this dream was destroyed forever. Even more important, she almost lost her life. Bethany had lost about 60% of her blood before making it to the hospital. She easily could have died. The medical team noted that it was her ability to keep calm probably saved her life. How was she able to remain calm in this traumatic situation? Bethany says it was largely her faith in God that sustained her through this time.
There is also a movie about her life that is also titles Soul Surfer starring Hellen Hunt as her mom and Denis Quaid as her dad. I actually watched the movie before reading the book. The movie is an "uplifting," and "entertaining" film. My whole family enjoyed it. The movie, however, leaves the viewer with many questions. How did Bethany develop this faith? What has her life been like since the accident? A little of the post-accident life is covered in the film. In the DVD there is an excellent documentary on how Bethany has gone on to become a professional surfer. The book is a good complement to the movie.
Why read the book? Why watch the movie? This is a heart-warming story. It shows how God can bring good things out of bad events. God has used Bethany to be a positive role model for expressing one's faith in the public. Her story teaches us how to have faith in difficult circumstances. So go ahead and rent the movie, pop some popcorn and enjoy. If you are interested in getting a fuller picture of the event, find a copy of the book and hopefully your faith will be affirmed.