Book Review of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” By Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull


Author Richard Bach was a pilot. And his love for his aircraft takes his readers on a journey into the world of flight. This story is about learning and going beyond authority to achieve freedom of your spirit.

This story is about seagulls…and one particular seagull named Jonathan. Seagulls don’t really fly. They drift on wide spread wings, dive for fish and return to the shore/cliff. They abide and follow certain rules of the flock. But Jonathan had a mind of his own. He believed that there is more to life than just following the rules and doing what others tell him to. He practices flying higher and faster, in twists and turns and stalls and recovery. In his thirst to attain more knowledge and experience the real joy of living, he defies authority and breaks all rules. Soon he is seen as a non-conformist and an outcast. His basics (about aerodynamics/physics) give him a higher plane of freedom and individuality. He practices all day forcing his wings to elevate his obsession.

The author outlines fine technical details of flying as Jonathan experiences newer flight paths and levels, often at the edge of a violent death of young seagulls that follow him. Jonathan soon realizes that controlling his wingtips can make the desired difference. Though Jonathan is banished from his clan, he never gives up his quest for the perfect flight and imparts knowledge to ones that seek it.

Towards the end, Jonathan is taken into a different realm and time beyond imagination. There are no limits here as he further progresses to achieve perfection as he is encouraged to excel and fly beyond his own expectations.

The book explores man’s quest for knowledge and improvement despite authoritative constraints. It touches you on different levels. It also tells you about the world that exists beyond this one; material gains don’t equate to happiness or the reason to live; death is not the end but a new beginning; and following your heart gives you the freedom to soar despite adverse societal norms. We can achieve our goals through perseverance and practice. It touches various levels of spirituality that move your heart. Themes of freedom, individuality and pursuit for excellence woven in this inspiring tale show that courage can turn dreams into reality.



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