Review of “Soul Surfer”


I have to admit, I had never heard of Bethany Hamilton  until three years ago, when one of my favorite actresses, Anna Sophia Robb, was portraying her in a film called Soul Surfer

“I have a mostly normal life.”

It wasn’t until last year that I finally watched the film, which is enjoyable, even despite Carrie Underwood’s horrible acting. (Note: the Soul Surfer film is a beach film, so expect bikinis. As for violence, if you are ok with Jaws, you’ll enjoy it.)


A few months later, I came across Bethany’s book, which inspired the film, on the bargain rack at a Christian bookstore. I was interested to read her own account of the attack and her life, so I purchased it.

“It came, literally, out of the blue.”

To be honest, Soul Surfer is not the most well-written book I have ever read. But it is written by a fourteen-year-old, so I really can’t be too harsh.

Bethany Portrait

The story, however, is amazing. Bethany tells how her life was forever changed when, at the age of thirteen, she was attacked by a fourteen-foot tiger shark while surfing. She shares how God has been at work in her life, before and after the attack; how God brought her family to Hawaii; and how He has used her story to encourage others.


Please do not let the title turn you off: I have never been surfing, and know absolutely nothing about surfing, but I found Soul Surfer to be an inspiring story, showing the Providence of God in Bethany’s life.

“Life is full of what-ifs. You can’t let it hold you back. If you do, you’re not really living at all.”

Parents should be aware that throughout the book there are photos from Bethany’s life, before and after her attack, some of them with her in potentially offensive swim suits. Also, while Bethany does describe the shark attack, it is not gratuitous or overly frightening.


Overall, I found Soul Surfer to be an enjoyable, inspiring book. I would give the book a “B”, as the writing is not outstanding.

The copy I reviewed is the original 2004 printing. While I have not read it, I would recommend the 2011 movie tie-in printing, which is revised and expanded.


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One response to “Review of “Soul Surfer”

  1. Pingback: Review of “Body and Soul” | the nerdy bookworm

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