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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.
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.
Copyright © 2004 by Bethany Hamilton
1. halloween morning
3. a serious competitor
4. a mostly normal life
6. dark hours
8. the Road Back
9. why I do it
10. keeping the faith
11. an outpouring of aloha
12. on being kind of famous
13. back in the waves
15. part of a plan
Posted August 15, 2011
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
90 out of 106 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2011
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2011
Posted August 10, 2011
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 21, 2011
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 20, 2011
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 6, 2011
Posted December 1, 2011
"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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 7, 2011
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Posted August 12, 2011
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Posted April 15, 2011
im in fiifth grade and i was able to understand it perfectly. this would be a great book for like fourth grade and up.
14 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 14, 2011
Posted August 13, 2011
Posted August 8, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 8, 2011
Posted August 10, 2011
Posted August 4, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.