Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

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Overview

When Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in the fall of 2003 to a shark attack, it looked as if the career of one of the country's top amateur surfers was over. But just ten weeks later, she returned to competition in her native Hawaii, vowing never to give up the sport she loves. She has since earned an indelible place in America's heart by making appearances on 20/20, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and a host of other venues. Now, in Soul Surfer, this extraordinary fourteen-year-old recounts ...
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When Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in the fall of 2003 to a shark attack, it looked as if the career of one of the country's top amateur surfers was over. But just ten weeks ... later, she returned to competition in her native Hawaii, vowing never to give up the sport she loves. She has since earned an indelible place in America's heart by making appearances on 20/20, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and a host of other venues. Now, in Soul Surfer, this extraordinary fourteen-year-old recounts her incredible, harrowing story in her own unforgettable voice. Bethany has already lived more than a lifetime's worth of triumph and tragedy, and she shares every poignant moment in these pages. Readers learn how she rose once again to the challenges of competition after a life-changing event, how she dealt with the maelstrom of media attention, and how she relied on her faith and innate positive thinking to embrace changes that would undo most people. Written with passion and insight, and filled with thrilling moments of the sport Bethany has come to personify, this is a portrait of American heroism that will captivate readers of all ages. Publishers Weekly Hamilton, a 14-year-old aspiring professional surfer from Kauai, Hawaii, made headlines last fall after she lost her arm in a shark attack. With the help of writer Berk and Bundschuh, a pastor whom the teen calls her "spiritual advisor," the teen offers an upbeat and candid-if somewhat meandering-chronicle of her life. She opens with the shark attack, then fills in details before and after this tragic incident, giving priority to the topics pinpointed in the book's subtitle. Her fervent faith surfaces often in her account: her church youth group figures prominently in her life, she prays before each surfing competition, she states that "Being tight with God is even more important to me than surfing" and, in discussing "God's plan" for her, states, "if I can help other people find hope in God, then that is worth losing my arm for." Hamilton offers Read more Show Less

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Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

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Overview

When Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in the fall of 2003 to a shark attack, it looked as if the career of one of the country's top amateur surfers was over. But just ten weeks later, she returned to competition in her native Hawaii, vowing never to give up the sport she loves. She has since earned an indelible place in America's heart by making appearances on 20/20, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and a host of other venues. Now, in Soul Surfer, this extraordinary fourteen-year-old recounts her incredible, harrowing story in her own unforgettable voice.

Bethany has already lived more than a lifetime's worth of triumph and tragedy, and she shares every poignant moment in these pages. Readers learn how she rose once again to the challenges of competition after a life-changing event, how she dealt with the maelstrom of media attention, and how she relied on her faith and innate positive thinking to embrace changes that would undo most people. Written with passion and insight, and filled with thrilling moments of the sport Bethany has come to personify, this is a portrait of American heroism that will captivate readers of all ages.

Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surfer lost her arm in a shark attack off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. Not even the loss of her arm keeps her from returning to surfing, the sport she loves.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hamilton, a 14-year-old aspiring professional surfer from Kauai, Hawaii, made headlines last fall after she lost her arm in a shark attack. With the help of writer Berk and Bundschuh, a pastor whom the teen calls her "spiritual advisor," the teen offers an upbeat and candid-if somewhat meandering-chronicle of her life. She opens with the shark attack, then fills in details before and after this tragic incident, giving priority to the topics pinpointed in the book's subtitle. Her fervent faith surfaces often in her account: her church youth group figures prominently in her life, she prays before each surfing competition, she states that "Being tight with God is even more important to me than surfing" and, in discussing "God's plan" for her, states, "if I can help other people find hope in God, then that is worth losing my arm for." Hamilton offers copious background information about her close-knit family and her passion for surfing, as well as expressions of gratitude for the post-attack outpouring of support and donations from friends and strangers. Despite her narrative's sometimes overly zealous inspirational overtones, Hamilton's optimism, determination and resilience (she climbed back on her surfboard within a month of the attack) are undeniably impressive and uplifting and may well reassure teens dealing with distressing or life-altering events. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Surfer Bethany Hamilton, of Kauai, revisits her first book—about her life before and after losing her left arm to a shark in 2003, when she was 13. Now, with the release of a docudrama on her life, she has added new material. Eleni Pappageorge's narration reflects the maturity Hamilton has gained since the first book. The most interesting passages are about Hamilton's family, their Christian perspective, and the bond formed by their shared love of surfing. The book would be an excellent choice for Christian families listening together—and, thankfully, there's nothing graphic about the shark attack. Interviews at the end provide an interesting look at the making of the movie." 
J.A.S. © AudioFile Portland, Maine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743499224
  • Publisher: MTV Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Bethany Hamilton, who YM magazine called the "Bravest Girl in America," has been surfing since she was seven years old. Since her shark attack last year Bethany has participated in numerous competitions and has received the 2004 Teen Choice award for Most Courageous Teen and the 2004 ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete.

Sheryl Berk most recently collaborated with Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn DiScala on her memoir, Wise Girl, and with Britney Spears on her autobiography, Stages. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Peter, and their own little miracle, daughter Carrie.

Rick Bundschuh is a surfer, writer, and cartoonist, and serves as one of the pastors at Kauai Christian Fellowship. He makes his home in Kalaheo, Hawaii, along with his wife, Lauren, their four kids, a weenie dog, and a quiver of surfboards.

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Read an Excerpt

Soul Surfer

A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board
By Bethany Hamilton Sheryl Berk Rick Bundschuh

MTV

Copyright © 2004 Bethany Hamilton
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7434-9922-0


Foreword

To be honest, I never wanted to write a book.

It actually took a lot of convincing by my family and friends, because I'm not someone who likes to talk a lot about myself, or thinks I'm any big deal. But they saw something in my story that would be helpful and interesting to others - and they encouraged me to write it down. So here I am! And actually, when I really thought about it, it seemed like something that I should do. It would give a bigger picture of my faith, my family, and all those people who have helped get me back into the water again. But I'll tell you one thing: it wasn't easy.

It took a lot of people to help me put my thoughts on paper. First, there was Rick Bundschuh, my spiritual advisor and a pastor in the Kauai Christian Fellowship Church. There were certain things I just didn't want to talk about - certainly not to a stranger. So Rick volunteered to do the "translating." We would sit for hours and just talk, talk, talk. I'd pour my heart out, and he'd patiently listen, putting it all down on paper. Then came our writer, Sheryl Berk, who helped me organize and shape all these thoughts into fifteen chapters (who knew I had 200-plus pages in me?). When you're really close to something, it's hard to see things as they truly were or are. So Sheryl, along with my editor, Lauren McKenna, helped me connect the dots. They asked the toughest questions! Stuff that really made me squirm sometimes, but also, in the end, made me dig a little deeper and really be honest with myself and you. In the end, I'm really proud of what we've written here. I think it's truthful, and I hope it inspires and motivates people to tackle any obstacles in their lives. I hope it helps people find faith in God and in their own strength and ability. I hope it motivates someone going through a tough time right now to keep on fighting until they rise above it. You can and will get through it. I'm living proof that where there's a will, there's a way.

What I don't want is for people to pity me or think of me as a person who has had her life ruined. That's not how I see it. My mom is always saying, "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Which is a great outlook on life, if you can actually see beyond the lemons when you're up to your eyeballs in them! My strength came from my relationship with Christ and from the love and encouragement of my family and friends.

In a lot of ways I'm like any fourteen-year-old girl, and in a lot of ways, I'm not. If someone had told me that this is how my life would be, I would have never believed it. It would have seemed too bizarre to be true. Sometimes it still is. I often dream that I have both my arms again, and I wake up expecting the whole shark business to be a nightmare. But it's not. It's my reality now, and I've learned to accept it. I've moved on.

I don't pretend to have all the answers to why bad things happen to good people. But I do know that God knows all those answers, and sometimes He lets you know in this life, and sometimes He asks you to wait so that you can have a face-to-face talk about it. What I do know is that I want to use what happened to me as an opportunity to tell people that God is worthy of our trust, and to show them that you can go on and do wonderful things in spite of terrible events that happen. I don't think it does any good to sit around feeling sorry for yourself. I made myself a promise: I'm not going to wallow or walk around moaning, "Woe is me!"

One other thing you should know: this book really doesn't have an ending yet because I am still learning how to cope every day. I'm not talking about learning how to button my top with one hand. I'm talking about coping with being a celebrity, something I never imagined that I would have to deal with at the age of fourteen. Or coping with people's stares, either because they recognize me, or because they are not used to seeing a person with one arm running down the beach. Or coping with answering endless questions from the media and seeing my face in newspapers and magazines. I'm also learning to cope with the frustration of knowing that if I had both arms to paddle, I just might have done a little better in a surf contest that I have just been in.

I am excited about some of the opportunities to travel and surf all around the world that have come as a result of my attack and return to surfing. But most of all I am excited about what the future holds. Will I make it to the pro ranks in surfing? Will my lifelong friend and surf buddy, Alana, be paddling next to me in the years to come as she is now and was during the attack? Will I be able to make a difference, in some small way, in people's lives by sharing my story?

What does God have in store for me? I really don't know, but I do know one thing for sure: the adventure is only started.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton Sheryl Berk Rick Bundschuh Copyright © 2004 by Bethany Hamilton. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xvii
1 Halloween morning 1
2 Roots 17
3 A serious competitor 33
4 A mostly normal life 51
5 Attack 67
6 Dark hours 81
7 Surgery 93
8 The road back 101
9 Why I do it 117
10 Keeping the faith 131
11 An outpouring of aloha 143
12 On being kind of famous 155
13 Back in the waves 173
14 Aftermath 193
15 Part of a plan 203
Endnote 211
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 997 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(769)

4 Star

(108)

3 Star

(54)

2 Star

(24)

1 Star

(42)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1013 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2011

    Best book ever

    I watched the movie and i was soooo into it. I felt what bethany felt. Durring the shark attack my left arm fell alseep!bethany made me want to try surfing.i could read the book and watch the movie over and over again. I say that this was my fav movie and book lov it it is #1

    89 out of 105 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    Best book ever

    I love this book it is such an amazing story and such a strong girl i would like for everyone of my friends to read this book.

    62 out of 72 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2011

    Awesome

    The movie and the book was life changing.

    58 out of 85 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2011

    Soul surfer

    I like this book because it shows that god will allways help you when you need help and if this happends to you and you read this nook you would now what could happen to you and you will be able to get a new perspective and if you get stuck in the inpackt zone you need to get right back up the reason i rote a review is so people would know how much perserverints it took to get back up on the board.

    54 out of 63 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Amazing and super inspirational!

    I enjoyed this book like no other! She is a wonderful author and has lots of description. Who would be better to tell her story better than Miss Bethany herself? I had to have my friend read it ! My love of surfing fits well with my love of this book! I VERY MUCH reccomend this book to all Bethany fans and lovers of the water.

    38 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2011

    great read

    An emotionally trying story of inspirationally overcoming obstacles and having faith in the big picture. I cant wai to see te movie

    34 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2011

    I love this and i love her outstanding faith

    I love this book i can not believe she whent through this but im so glad that Jesus had His hand on her i love you and your true faith keep it up and always stay with Him love in Him mckinzie

    31 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    AMAZING!

    This book is 1 word. AWESOME!!

    28 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 1, 2011

    Inspiration at its best! :)

    "Soul Surfer" is a very inspirational story about a young girl, Bethany Hamilton, who has a dream. A dream that is very reachable, until it was abrupted by a horrendous experience that would forever change her life. Bethany always wanted to become a pro surfer. She was always said to be the "next big surfer". That was until a horrendous accident occurred. On October 30, 2003, she was relaxing on her board when a shark came up from under her and bit her arm off. After that, her life forever changed. I honestly don't know many people who would've handled this situation as well as Bethany did. Her passion and dedication was truly inspiring. The fact that she didn't wallow in self-pity, not only says a lot about her character, but the fact that she is able to overcome anything life throws at her. I really liked how inspirational the story and message was. It really inspired me to be the best person I can possibly be. Bethany's story also showed me no matter what life throws at you, you can handle it. Even if that means modifying everything in your life. I also really liked how she was motivated by God. I think everyone has their go to person and God was Bethany's. He showed her that it is okay to be different, it's okay to be strong, it's okay to keep living your everyday life. The only thing I really didn't enjoy was towards the middle, it did get a little dry. However, that is the only complaint I have! I think every girl should read this book. It really showed me that it's okay to be different. In school now of days, it's not the cool thing to be 'different. However, Bethany's teaching girls all around the World to embrace their uniqueness and I think that takes a special person (which Bethany clearly is). I would rate this book a 5 because the message was so strong and so appealing to people all over the World. You never think you'll be the 'one', but sometimes you are and you have to deal with it. Bethany's story is a true inspiration to my life. Truly a great read:)

    27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Excelent

    I saw the movie...I applaud you Bethany!!!

    26 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    Awesome!

    Saw the movie and thought this book would be cool. This book is awesome!

    16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2011

    Love it

    Best book ever love it!

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 4, 2011

    Great

    Omg movoe awesoke and i cant wait to read the book

    14 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2011

    this book was great

    im in fiifth grade and i was able to understand it perfectly. this would be a great book for like fourth grade and up.

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2011

    Great for guys and girls

    SO Inspirational! Good for younger kids, too. I am almost 10 and I enjoyed this book.

    13 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2011

    Amazing book

    It was so cool how she lived from a shark attak it was a awsome book

    12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2011

    Bethany Hamiltin

    The book AND movie r so inspiring to me i wish tht i cood b just like Bethany with the grit she had not to scream out loud but to also be on His side i pray for Bethany Hamilton every day and a word if advice for those who like to surf DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT sneak out tht will just kead u to horrible things and situations that people every day have to go thru BETHANY HAMILTON I PRAY FOR U AND I HOPE THT U LOVE THE PEOPLE THT R ON UR SIDE THT SUPPORT AND PRAY FOR U

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2011

    Probrly that ( up )

    Saw movie reading book next... so pumped to read it!!!!!!

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    K

    Love this book!!!

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 4, 2011

    AMAZING STORY! A MUST READ!!!!!!!!

    This is an inspirational story. I think she has amazing potential and guts to be able to get back up and surf again. I would recommend this book and movie to anyone that was willing to read about this amazing girls story and all the courage she had just to do what made her happy and to live her dream(:

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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