"" Writer's Wanderings: Books For The Road - Soul Surfer

Friday, July 27, 2012

Books For The Road - Soul Surfer

The youth of our church asked to have their own book discussion this summer so I suggested we all read Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton (with Rick Bundshuh and Sheryl Berk). I did put off reading my copy until after we were done with our dive trip to Cayman. I figured the only thing worse than reading about a shark attack before diving would be to watch Jaws, the movie. Knowing this was written specifically as a piece of Christian non-fiction, I was a little skeptical about whether I would enjoy it. Sometimes that type of book is a little too ordered, a little too perfect. What I discovered was a nice piece of writing done obviously from a young teenager who truly wants to give God the glory.

The event in Bethany's life that brought her to the world's notice was a shark attack while she was surfing. She was only thirteen. The shark took her arm almost to the shoulder and a chunk of her board as well. She managed to make it to shore with the help of friends and survived an ordeal that would have destroyed many an adult. Not only did Bethany survive but she went on to surf and continue to successfully compete in surfing contests around the world.

While much of the book is about Bethany's determination to use what has happened to her as a way to tell others about God and his saving grace, it does give a fun glimpse into life on the small island of Kauai and surfing. Bethany and her writers do not concentrate on the details of her attack and recovery which is okay but I would have liked to have heard a little more about the difficulty of rehabilitation. How did you learn to do things with one arm? How did you work through the dark times (don't tell me there were none) to be able to give God the glory in the end? But then I have to tell myself that this was written by a young teen and perhaps at the time, there were issues that didn't need to be explored.

Hopefully my young book readers will read the book and not just rent the movie. As I understand, the movie is just slightly different to make it a little more interesting. Guess I will give it a look as well.

If you are looking for a book for a tween or teen to read this summer on the beach, this wouldn't be a bad choice but it might keep them out of the water.

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