Jonathon Livingston Seagull
By: Richard Bach
Type: Extended Parable
Setting: An unknown coast, home of a large flock of seagulls
The book follows the exploits of Jonathon, a seagull determined to fly faster than any seagull has flown before. In his attempts, he is alienated from the flock and eventually kicked out to make a life of his own on another cost. Although this is seemingly disastrous, it becomes exactly what Jonathon needed, and he then has the freedom to experiment and devise new methods of flight control with no one to tell him he is wrong.
This is far more than just a book about a gull. It is obviously (and beautifully) a parable for the way Richard Bach feels we should live our lives. Everyone, regardless of profession or abilities, should be able to get something positive out of this short book. The main theme teaches us to do the best we possibly can at whatever we attempt, despite what the flock may say. In fact, Jonathon didn’t realize how much the flock was holding him back until he was away from it. Because he was no longer exposed to constant negative criticism, he was able to reach all of his goals and discover that he had new ones to strive for.
This book won’t be news to the kind of person who does his or her best at everything already, but it will be an excellent reading experience and a positive reinforcement to that lifestyle. For a person afraid to break away from an easy, comfortable lifestyle, this book may provide the incentive to do so. I know of no thinking being that would not be able to find something of worth inJonathon Livingston Seagull.