Last weekend, I saw the movie Soul Surfer. I didn’t know it was based on a book until I read it in the credits. I remember when this story hit the news years ago, but I didn’t keep up with it, nor did I know much about it beyond girl surfer gets her arm bitten off by a shark.
Right off the bat I was engaged in this story. The movie was incredible. The acting was amazing-a stellar cast that includes Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. I was really surprised at how calm Bethany was after the attack, which doctors say is probably what saved her life, otherwise she may have fully bled out. Her strength and faith were absolutely inspiring. I adored the actress who played Bethany. She did an amazing job. The surfing bits were awesome and fun to watch. And can we just talk about how gorgeous Hawaii is? It is so beautiful. Watching movie Bethany living in a house right off the ocean, waking up in early mornings to a dark sky and breaking waves. I also really enjoyed getting a glimpse of Hawaii culture.
Overall, this movie was enjoyable, incredibly inspiring, and tugged at my heartstrings a bit. I dare you to watch it and not cry.
Of course as soon as I got home I had to look up the book. It was available on the Kindle so I immediately bought it.
The book was written a year after the attack, when Bethany was fourteen. The writing is very direct and straight-forward. It is a quick and easy read. If I had read the book first, I know I would have been just as moved by it as I was by the movie. The movie followed the book very well, with the exception of the addition of the fictional character Malina. There were things in the movie that I wondered if they were created to add more drama, such as Bethany taking her dad’s spot in the OR. Or her friend breaking into the truck to get his phone to call the ambulance. Nope. Those things really happened. She also did go to Thailand and help people overcome their fear of the water.
This book was originally published in 2004, but they released a new edition this year. At the end of the book Bethany has added a chapter about what her life has been like since the book the came out. She also kept a movie diary and included it too. I am a sucker for behind the scenes stuff. I really enjoyed reading about her experience turning her story into a movie. I think it is pretty cool that the producers allowed Bethany and her family to have as much input as they did.
I cannot express how in awe I am of Bethany, her courage, her spirit, her faith, and her resilience. I don’t know that we could ever know how we’d react in a similar situation, but I truly don’t know if I would have handled it as gracefully as she did. Her passion for surfing, her determination to get back on her board despite the loss of her arm, her unmoving faith-it all moved me.
If you are looking for a different perspective on life or just a little inspiration, I highly recommend both the book and the movie.