Letter Essay #6:
Recently I finished the book ‘Soul Surfer’ written by Bethany Hamilton. The first time I read this book was back in elementary school and I don’t remember much of it. A few weeks ago I found it in my sisters room and decided to read it again. The book was an easy read and was super quick to finish. I enjoyed reading it because I felt I could kinda relate to the way she was writing. The writing was not formal and very easy understand which made me enjoy it more. The author was so casual in her way of writing, it was almost like I was having a conversation with her. I originally read the book after seeing the movie with my mom. I normally read books before the movie, because often the book and move don’t match up. But I loved the movie so much I decided to take a chance and read the book. I also love to surf and have always dreamed of living on an Island. While reading I learned about their culture and daily life in Hawaii which was interesting to me. I really enjoyed reading this book and was surprised I liked it that much because I really dislike autobiographies or biographies..
The book is written about a trauma Bethany goes through as a young girl. Bethany was brought up as a surfer. It’s all she wants to do, but after losing her arm in a shark attack she doesn’t know how she’ll ever surf again. She tells her life story, from when her parents met, to her first time on a surfboard. Her friend Alana is a huge part of her journey, the girls were inseparable from the moment they met, Alana was in the ocean with Bethany when she was attacked and helped pull her to safety. As the story progresses Bethany writes about how she tries to surf again. She has so much determination and hope for herself. She refuses to give up even when she continues to get knocked down.
I enjoyed this book a lot and I liked the way the author wrote the book it felt more like the author was talking to me then it felt I was reading a book. It also helped me relate to the character and connect with her more than if a middle aged person tried to tell her story. One part I could really relate to was when she spoke about her school work, saying how she doesn’t enjoy school. That I can relate to alot because I’m not a huge school person. She also spoke about growing up with 2 brothers, I have three brothers and although they’re younger than me I can still understand what Bethany means when she wrote “My brothers pushed me to try things that I might not have done on my own (pg 38)”. This makes me think of how growing up with my brothers I have done so many things that if I didn’t have them I probably wouldn’t have done. I’m not a huge religious person but in this book Bethany’s life after her shark attack revolves greatly around her catholic faith. She talked about how after her accident god had a plan for her and that there is a reason for all this. That made me really think about why everything happens, and maybe everything really does happen for a reason. ‘Soul Surfer’ was one of those books that after you read it you want to go out and accomplish everything. It inspired me to want to become better and work harder, to push myself and reach my full potential.
My favorite passage was when Bethany talks about the shark attack and how she felt about it. The book said “I’m glad I never saw the shark closing in on me. I’m glad I never had more than a split second to wrap my brain around the fact that I was being attacked.(pg 69)” At first I didn’t agree. Wouldn’t you want to know? What if you could have done something?But as I thought about I realized how right Bethany was. Knowing something was coming to hurt you would cause you to panic and could scar you more than not knowing it was going to happen. The majority of the pain we feel is just our brain telling us to feel pain. When in reality if we can calm down the pain will decrease. As I continued reading I learned that Bethany felt the same way as I did after I thought about it. At the end I was bummed it was over, and I ended up researching Bethany Hamilton and rewatching the movie. Her story is so inspiring, I highly recommend the book. I’d rate it a 9 out of 10, and I would easily read it again.