Newest Review: ... pages and is split into three parts. Throughout this small book there is photographs by Russell Munson of seagulls. I found these photogra... more
Lessons in Life
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach
Member Name: ninski
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach
Date: 12/01/01, updated on 12/01/01 (441 review reads)
Advantages: Inspires you to think higher
Disadvantages: None - it's brevity gets the message across quickly!
This book travels with me whenever I go off to work overseas and in fact at this moment is sitting on a Greek island awaiting my return next summer. I first read it over 20 years ago, have read it many times since and it never loses its magic for me!
Being a bit of a nomad and a free spirit, I have worked abroad quite often over the years and have read Jonathan in various locations. The best spot of all was when I was living in the Algarve and found a secret 'retreat' where I could enjoy peace, quiet and contemplation. It was on a ledge at the top of a cliff (quite a wide ledge!!) looking out to sea, hearing the waves crashing against the rocks below. Just across and down from 'my ledge', part of the cliff jutted out and was home to a flock of seagulls!! As I read about Jonathan's adventures, describing how he experiments with speed, decreasing his wing span to bring him out of the plummeting fall that threatens to send him crashing into the sea, I watched those seagulls. Although many of them were obviously enjoying gliding on the wind and diving downwards (mainly because they'd seen the glint of a fish in the sea!) none of them appeared to have the Jonathan spirit!! Every time I see a lone seagull I say a silent hello to Jonathan!
THE STORY AND THE LESSONS THEREIN
Yes, this is a story about a seagull, but it's oh so much more than that. You see, Jonathan discovers his individuality. He doesn't want to be just one of the flock, living only to feed and breed. He wants more out of life and to sometimes do things just for the fun of it. His first successful attempts to improve his flying skills inspire him to continue, even though he is made an outcast for defying the rules of the flock!! His excitement comes from seeing how far he can push himself, discovering new challenges that will fulfil him, setting himself new goals to achieve. He is in fact, ahead of his time and ends up living rather a solita
ry life, pushing himself harder and harder. Ironically, because of the skills he develops he can catch better fish, so justifying his efforts even more. Although Jonathan enjoys his life, and achieves fulfilment, he would love to share it with other like-minded gulls.
Having lived to a good old age, he is gliding through the sky one day, dozing on a breeze, when he opens his eyes to find that he is has company - two dazzling white seagulls flying wingtip to wingtip with him. He decides to put them to 'his tests' and hey, they match his speed and skills! They tell him it is time to leave his present world and travel on into the next, where his skills will not only be recognised but he will have the opportunity to share them with others willing to learn.
During the second part of the book, Jonathan revisits his old flock which is still living under the same rules, governed by the council members. He demonstrates his skills with some amazing speed flying and somersaults and gradually some of the younger gulls, defying threats from 'the elders' that they would be made outcasts, join Jonathan, wanting to be like him. The number of willing pupils increases and Jonathan teaches them all he knows and then leaves one of the youngsters (within whom he recognises another Jonathan) in charge while he goes on to be a new leader elsewhere.
The message that flows through this book is that we are all individuals. Somewhere inside us, even though it may be buried deep, we have the strength to make a difference. This doesn't necessarily mean going out and challenging a cause, it can just mean challenging yourself to achieve something you've always wanted, to make a difference in your own life, to follow a dream. Even if you make just a small change, which leads to you being a happier person, it's amazing how much of an effect it can have on the people around you.
Although a little book, readin
g it is a wonderful experience and you discover a little something you've missed or forgotten, each time you read it! Lots of lovely photography throughout the book too. If you haven't already read it, now's the time - it's never too late to learn some lessons of life!
Wishing you all happiness and fulfilment.