Bethany Hamilton is normal, for a Hawaiian girl, anyway. She’s homeschooled, super athletic, sponsored by Rip Curl, and a professional surfer in the making.
A shark attack changes her life forever. She now has to learn to do everything with one arm. So many normal things are almost impossible now. Like surfing.
But what Bethany lacks in arms, she makes up in courage and will.
Still, courage and will aren’t very much against a handicap like this…
In My Opinion…
Author: Bethany Hamilton (with Sheryl Berk, and Rick Bundschuh)
Ages: 11 +
This story is amazing. Bethany’s life story deserves a rating of 5 stars. Just how she acted in attack… so calm, matter-of-fact. Just amazing. She really was just a fairly normal girl. A girl with an incredibly strong Christian faith.
If you’re reading this expecting a fabulous surfing competition, like in the movie, it’s not like that. While all the background is almost word-for-word, there’s a few technical differences. It’s not about competing so much as about the effect the shark attack had on her. It’s about what happened, how a thirteen year old girl copes with suddenly becoming a celebrity, and how much she trusted God. This book is way more Christian than the movie.
It’s written by a fourteen year old. That’s pretty cool. Written by someone my age. (Of course, it’s slightly discomforting to know that if I want a book published, I could get eaten by a shark. I think I’ll find something else amazing to do.) I’m afraid to say, her talent isn’t really writing. It’s good, but it’s not exceptional. From what I get, she mainly dictated the book, and one of the co-authors wrote it down, and the other one turned it into a book. I might be wrong, but that’s what I got from the prologue. I wish I could say that it’s great writing. But it’s simply not.
At times it feels unreal. Like Bethany’s too brilliant to be real. She’s so calm, compassionate, and so firm a Christian. And her account of the shark attack… it almost makes you think, “As if.” If it wasn’t a true story, I’d think the author was a bit out of tune with how much it would have hurt. But it is an autobiography, and completely true. It happened. She just tells it like it is. And then, in other places, it feels really real. It’s mixed like that, so in some places, you love it, and in others, it’s almost a tiny bit insipid.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book. I just liked the movie better. I felt there was too much back story about her parents that was totally unnecessary to the story. However, for everyone who loves those super-encouraging stories, that really bless people, read this. You’d love it.
And after this book, I know a lot more about surfing, too. I think it’s a great book. Definitely a book you should read.