Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review :: Body & Soul by Bethany Hamilton with Dustin Dillberg, L.Ac., PAS

Body & Soul is a new book by Bethany Hamilton. (Bethany Hamilton is probably most widely known for her shark attack story and the book-turned-movie, Soul Surfer.) Body & Soul is described as "a girl's guide to a fit, fun, and fabulous life". 

The book is beautifully done, with full-color, semi-glossy pages. The large format reminds me of reading a magazine. The content is divided into 9 chapters, and there is also additional multimedia content available using various electronic devices. (I didn't use the additional multimedia content, so I can't provide any review details on that.)

The majority of Body & Soul focuses on a clean, healthy lifestyle. I really appreciated the fact that Bethany specifically stated that the exterior shape and clothing size is not what makes a person healthy - I feel like this is something that our girls can never hear enough of.

Bethany is a Christian and doesn't hide the fact that a healthy life also includes a healthy relationship with God. Even though she didn't hide it, I felt like this book was much more heavily focused on body (exercise and nutrition) than it was on soul. I would have loved for there to have been more "soul food".

With the heavy exercise and nutrition focus, however, I felt like a few things could have been clarified a little bit more (such as a more thorough definition of "clean eating"). As an adult reading this book, I knew what she was addressing...but I feel as though many tweens/teens who are going to be reading this book will not fully grasp what terms like "clean eating" and "organic" really mean. (Even my children, when we as a family try to eat nutritious, mostly organic foods, still probably wouldn't fully understand.)

Obviously, with Bethany Hamilton's profession (and hobby) being surfing, there is a lot of talk about surfing in Body & Soul. Even so, she does state that is important for each person to find what types of exercise appeal to them and to follow that - so I think this can be inspiring to many more girls than just little surfers. (If you do have a little surfer, though, I would be sure this book makes it onto your bookshelf!)

This book isn't all about just written information - there are also 4 full workouts (with photos). There were a good amount of photos accompanying the workout descriptions, but there were some cases where I think a couple more photos would have been helpful. There are also a good amount of recipes (34 in the recipe chapter, plus others sprinkled throughout the book) - they sound delicious and are accompanied by beautiful, colorful photographs. There are recipes for breakfast, juices, smoothies, lunch, dinner, side dishes, snacks, and desserts.

Body & Soul is written with an obvious tween/teen tone (and is classified as Juvenile Nonfiction). I personally don't see a need to use some of the terms that were used in the book ("fave", "sesh", "BFF", etc.) - they seem to be used solely for the sake of appealing to tweens/teens...but in my opinion that just dumbs down what could have been quality information. As Bethany is a life-long surfer, there are definitely some surfer-type terms included as well (such as "rad", "gnarly", "rock", "stoked", etc.). The surfer tone is understandable, but I felt the tween/teen tone was unnecessary. I think with a few tweaks (mainly using whole words), this could have easily been a good, well-written book for both teens and adults.

I will be letting my 10 year old daughter read Body & Soul, but I am not sure how inspirational it will be for her at her current age. All in all, this was a good book to read and will be handy to keep around (particularly for the workouts and recipes).
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

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