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
A Simple yet Unforgettable Tale
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach
Member Name: aefra
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach
Date: 10/07/02, updated on 11/07/02 (2850 review reads)
Advantages: Stays in the Memory for Always
Disadvantages: None unless you like length
I said I would not dare to write a book review. Like Jonathan I have dared, and can only hope that to a small degree I have succeeded. I'm sure you'll let me know if I should go back to dogs and yoghurt. :-)
When a way of life has always been; when the limitations of a culture have been accepted as the norm by all the generations before, change is feared. The rare being born with the vision to see what could be possible and the faith to act on his beliefs is a heretic.
This is a story of one such being, whose courage turned impossible dreams into reality, even though the penalty was to be the utter loneliness of the outcast. Richard Bach was a pilot who's passion for his craft takes us on a ride which brings tears to the eyes at times. Not with sadness, but with awe, as we join a spirit so powerful that it takes a young body into the unknown and then beyond Earth itself.
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull wanted to fly despite the disapproval of his elders. Seagulls don't fly. They drift on wide spread wings, dive for fish and scraps and return to the shore or cliffs. Flying is for eating. It is for the falcons and eagles to soar and dive and roll, and hurl themselves thousands of feet upwards until they are out of sight of all but others of their kind.
The first half of this book, only 127 pages long , takes us with Jonathan out across the empty sea by himself as he practices flight. All day and every day, while the others are feeding and doing the lesser things that seagulls do, Jonathan tries to force wings not made for speed or aerobatics to work for him in his obsession. Meanwhile he suffers the censure of his parents and the judgement of the flock.
Jonathan knows that he is breaking every rule of his kind. Seagulls are not meant to enjoy flight or to spend their days alone.. ... and seagulls never ever fly in the dark. There are times when he has doubts, when he tries to conform, but the pass
ion does not leave him and he returns again to the wide sea and the skies.
Here it is that Richard Bach absorbs the reader in the heady technicalities of flight as Jonathan finds out for himself, often at the very edge of violent death, how he can make his wings fly for him. We fear with him as he progresses through ever more hazardous errors (each with near disastrous consequences for the youngster), until he finds for himself that just the control of his wingtips can make the difference between success or being "blown into a million tiny shreds of seagull". He discovers that the infinitesimal lift of a feather gives him a "wide sweeping turn at tremendous speed". We exult with him as he reaches "terminal velocity" with amusing and far reaching results.
"It happened that morning, then, just after sunrise, that Jonathan Livingstone Seagull fired directly through the centre of Breakfast Flock, ticking off two hundred and twelve miles per hour, eyes closed, in a great roaring shriek of wind and feathers. The Gull of Fortune smiled upon him this once, and no one was killed."
Banished to perpetual isolation Jonathan continues in his quest for perfect flight, learning so much more than the mechanics of aerodynamics.
Part 2 of the story carries you alongside Jonathan on a journey which takes his quest for knowledge far beyond that ever achieved by his species, and then onward and upward into a realm and a time outside imagination. Here he is to find that there are no limits, that he is reaching into boundless infinity in his search for further perfection.
It would spoil things if I told you more. Only that there are more adventures as Jonathan Livingstone Seagull nears his goal.
The book was inspired by John H. Livingstone, a leading pilot of the nineteen twenties and thirties, much admired by the author. This apparently simple story will charm and absorb all ages.
It matters not that you buy this book for a child or keep it on your own bookshelf. Although it would not be considered a great literary work, it has sold millions of copies and,I believe, will continue to do so. It has so much more to say than just the need of a seagull to fly beyond the possible. There is a spirtuality within the pages which creeps into your heart and holds it still for moments at a time. It is one of those little books which will be kept, perhaps for years, and then passed on to someone who you would really like to read it.
The Book Cupboard has the paperback on sale at £4.50 reduced from £5.99. http://www. bookcupboard.co.uk/shop/richardbach.html.