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Gift from the Sea

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  32,625 Ratings  ·  2,944 Reviews
In this inimitable, beloved classic—graceful, lucid and lyrical—Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. Drawing inspiration from the shells on the shore, Lindbergh’s musings on the shape of a woman’s life bring new understanding to both men and ...more
Paperback, 130 pages
Published January 30th 1991 by Vintage (first published 1955)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) I read it about 40 years ago, but it impressed me enough to seek out the author's "Bring Me a Unicorn." It also got me interested in seashells, and…moreI read it about 40 years ago, but it impressed me enough to seek out the author's "Bring Me a Unicorn." It also got me interested in seashells, and influenced my own writing style. Not that I'll ever be published, but. AML and Rumer Godden are the two women who have most influenced me, and Ray Bradbury was the male writer who did. Now, there's a real mixture!(less)

Community Reviews

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Jun 19, 2007 Rachael rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that really will change your life, and it's one that absolutely should.

Lindberg (the wife of Charles Lindberg) explores the necessity of not only looking inward, but of focusing on one's development in order to fully live as a person, a woman, a mother, and a wife. She is especially potent when discussing the necessity of occasional moments of solitude in order to realign one's priorities and give freedom to creative expression, rather than running oneself ragged with
Dec 23, 2008 Audra rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: someone who isn't me
so...reading this book, in places, made me long to go back to Atlantic Beach, made me go back and read my diaries of New York.

I thought carefully about whether my strongly adverse feelings about this book were actually warranted or not. I have decided that there is a middle ground I must take here.

Here's my unabashed assessment, untainted by the millions of people who seem to LOVE this book:

if you've already lived the hard life, and come through it, worse for the wear but better in soul, don't
Feb 28, 2008 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVE this book!! I highly highly recommend it. It is the perfect gift to give a friend/sister/mother or to buy for yourself to read and re-read. It is also a really quick read which is a nice little bonus. If you want a really professional review read Lucy's. (I really think Lucy should become a book critic). But here's what I thought about it...this was my second time reading the book. The first time I read it I was around 18 and getting ready to leave for college. My mom had read ...more
Jan 01, 2008 Joel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joel by: Eugene Peterson
I love walking around a bookstore and picking up five or six books of varying genres that catch my eye, sitting down and skimming. If I'm interested I may read a chapter or two, a dozen poems, maybe even ponder buying it before I put them all back on the shelf. This was number four in a stack of nine that I picked up today at Borders. After skimming the introduction, I flipped to the first chapter... forty-five minutes later I had left the store to get a pen from my car and had picked up three n ...more
Sandy T
Apr 02, 2008 Sandy T rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this at BYU for a class and having to do a paper on it. I remember wondering what all the hoopla was about it... it just didn't do all that much for me. But now, some 30+ years later, it had a whole new meaning for me as I truly understood and felt exactly what she was expressing...
It is amazing that though this book was written over 50 years ago, so many of her observations still ring true today, and I found myself marking up page after page. Perhaps the most I got from it wa
Bark's Book Nonsense
I found this audio in the bag I keep in the car. It's a nonfiction account of one woman’s ruminations on life while she escapes to a beach cottage for a few weeks. This was written in the 50's but much of it still feels eerily current and will resonate most with introverts.

The MP3 player in my car didn’t like the way this disc was formatted and played the tracks out of order so I can’t review this properly as it kept skipping around. If it weren’t so short (2 hrs or so) I would’ve thrown in the
Jun 17, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it
Anne Lindbergh spent two weeks on Captiva Island in Florida, one week alone and one week with her sister, reflecting on her life and relationships. She uses five shells found on the beach to symbolize her ideas. She felt that women should try to simplify their lives. Find time for solitude, creativity, and an inner life. Have time alone with your spouse and each child for "one-and-only moments". Find balance between obligations to your family and your community, and time for inner harmony.

Jenny (Reading Envy)
Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote these musings in 1955, and it is definitely a capture in a moment of time, when roles for women were still assumed to be #1- marriage, #2 - having children, and #3 - taking care of the household. Lindbergh herself in the 20 year anniversary afterword in the version I have mused on how quickly roles and rights changed in her own lifetime, and how central women were to not only their own rights but other civil rights movements.

Still, even though I am not a mother or a h
Okay, my favorite part of this book was the afterwards, wherein Ms. Lindbergh acknowledges just how dated the book's appraisal of feminism was (the book was written in 1955, so you can't blame her for what she didn't know was right around the corner - still, her somewhat negative appraisal bugged me and I was relieved that she acknowledged its problems). She also hints at how difficult it is to follow her type of super-zen advice in real life.

I hate to say it, because so many women just L.O.V.E.
Jan 29, 2017 Ayse rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
This book is a collection of essays by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, published first in 1955. Although many years have passed after its publication, I believe many women can relate to her thoughts and feelings reflected in her book. She uses simile of sea and sea-shells to describe life, motherhood, marriage, coming of age. The book is written almost in a whispering tone; like the waves of a calm sea gently brushing the shore. Very soothing read..

One of the passages I enjoyed reading in the book is : '
Oct 08, 2014 Chrissie rated it really liked it
Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes of being a woman in America in the fifties. She compares different stages of marriage to different shells. The writing is beautiful, poignant, wise and the message clear. It is prose poetry. She speaks of the need for simplification in a world cluttered with obligations and gadgets. She speaks of what can be gained by allowing one to withdraw and find inner solace within one's self. How creativity replenishes the soul. She quotes among others John Donne, Antoine de S ...more
I'm sure I read Gift from the Sea at least 30 years ago and have probably bought and given away as many as thirty copies over the years. Gift from the Sea is one of those books that speaks to a person differently through different stages of one's life. I love it and think every woman should read it. I have since read other books (memoirs, diaries, letter of sorts) by Anne M. Lindbergh and have enjoyed them very much. I was happy to come across the 50th anniversary edition as a gift to myself.
Apr 23, 2008 Hillary rated it it was ok
I may be the only person on mother earth that thinks this book is over-rated. I've read it twice now and I just don't get what everyone thinks is so amazing about it. Lindbergh does bring up some interesting ideas that are worth thinking about, but she loses me with the sea shells. I agree with Becca in that, if i want to read something thought provoking with the potential to change my life, i'll read the conference talks in the ensign.
Ann Keller
Jul 12, 2012 Ann Keller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. In concise, philosophical and thought-provoking language, Anne Morrow Lindbergh provides the reader with wonderful revelations of what it’s like to be a modern woman. As the wife of Charles Lindbergh, she certainly felt the constraints of public engagements and social events, as well as the demands of being a wife and busy mother of five children. Perhaps that is why she was able to provide such a keen insight into the value of solitude and creativit ...more
I finished this book & am glad for the chance to take it off my to-read list. What a treasure.

So much of this book has relevance in my life today. In the three months leading up to our big move to Europe I had everything planned out like clockwork. Not knowing all that would happen on the "other side of the ocean" or how long it would take to get settled, I had to leave it up to a flexible plan. However, sometimes our "flexible" plans are clung to too tightly and then unnecessary stress occu
Lisa Kay
★★★★★I loved this book. My mom gave it to me as a gift when I was a teen and I've read it a couple of times. Still relevant today. Beautifully read by Claudette Colbert.
Aug 17, 2009 Gloria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I think I moderately enjoyed this book as a 20-something young mother. But with an extra goodly number of years on my body, I now adore this book.

I feel keenly that Anne Morrow Lindbergh is a kindred spirit.
And if there are as many women as she insinuates who also feel that desperate need to "get away" in order to recharge and refuel-- so that they may come home ready to give again ... then there are more women like me than I thought. I wish I knew where they were...

In any case, it has reaffirme
Jul 06, 2009 Chrystal rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Her writing is soothing, enlightening, and full of wisdom and beauty.

Some of my favorite quotes:
Woman's life today is tending more and more toward the state William James describes so well in the German word, "Zerrissenheit--torn-to-pieces-hood." She cannot live perpetually in "Zerrissenheit." She will be shattered into a thousand pieces. On the contrary, she must consciously encourage those pursuits which oppose the centrifugal forces of today. Quiet time alone,
Yelda Basar Moers
I’m afraid I’m going to get into trouble for writing this review because I believe I may be critical of one of the darlings of American Literature, especially a woman who was such a pioneer. For the most part, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the wife of aviation legend Charles Lindbergh, is a poignant meditation of a woman’s life, her role, her place in society, her demands of motherhood, wifedom, and her needs for solitude and inward contemplation. Lindbergh writes from her own expe ...more
Rachel Wagner
Apr 24, 2011 Rachel Wagner rated it it was amazing
Just finished again. How I love this book. I can relate to her emotions in leaving the island to a time in my life when an island rescued me in the same way.
I love how she talks about love, change, solitude, community, femininity and freedom. They are the words I would use if I was as eloquent.
Some favorites-
“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patienc
Jan 30, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
Received this gem of a book yesterday. Not only is it a visually beautiful book the writing is also beautiful. How did I miss this classic for so many years? A book that is great for any stage of life. Filled with wisdom I love how Mrs. Lindbergh uses a gift from the sea for each chapter. The comparison and insight of life to a shell is so beautiful! This is a book I will read more than once a year and one that I will give to my family anad friends. Absolutely love it!
Nov 12, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing
I think this the third time to have read this wonderful book on women's & men's lives..... Lindbergh has a certain magic for putting down in words women's hectic lives that will resonate with all women who read this book. It's very timely, all generations can glean something from it, I highly recommend this book!
Oct 28, 2016 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully produce little book of life lessons. It is introduced by one of the author's daughters, who makes a good observation that the style of writing reminds her of the movement of the sea, a calm and gentle one that is, and it is easy to see this comparison. Aimed primarily at women readers, generally speaking it is easily accessible by all.

Written on an island in the 1950s, there is a sense of peace and thoughtfulness about the prose. It is not preachy at all, just full of clear
Mar 27, 2012 Kimberly rated it it was ok
This book was chosen by my book club, otherwise I wouldn't have read it. To be honest, I just couldn't wax philosophical with Anne. All I could think about when Anne was discussing marriage and women's roles was about her personal life and the affairs both she and Charles had. I'm not judging them, only they know what went on in their marriage, but, at the same time, I didn't find myself inclined to take marriage advice from her. I thought it was strange that she kept quoting Antoine de Saint-Ex ...more
Sarju Shrestha Marzullo
Jan 15, 2015 Sarju Shrestha Marzullo rated it it was amazing
Absolutely love this book. I listen this on tape.It's a quick book but i listened it twice since there is so much wisdom you can reflect on you and your life.
Lindberg (the wife of Charles Lindberg), who is not only aviator on her own but also an amazing writer. She wrote this book in 1950s reflecting her life and a life of a woman--how important is to enjoy time of solitude to develop oneself so that you can give back fully as a mother, wife or a friend. She metaphorically uses different kinds o
Mar 06, 2011 Bennet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How, Anne asks, does one "remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced," and most of all, where and how does one find solitude? The realm of solitude is intimately explored through her mid-life retreat to "a sea-shell of a house" on a remote shore, which anyone likewise yearning will find impossible to resist, even if it's available only in print.

"One learns first of all in beach living the art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much," someth
Nov 16, 2012 Juanita rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me and I'm glad I read it!
There were some soul-stirring truths written by this great woman, Ann Lindbergh of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping (she was the child's mother). By the time she'd written this book, she'd gained a lifetime of wisdom and understood the path that needed to be traversed to get to the best place of her life.
It's an encouraging read and one that made me want to be a better person.
Marian Kvamme
Dec 15, 2015 Marian Kvamme rated it it was amazing
Rebecca Trujillo Batty
I believe this book was mentioned in The Poisonwood Bible, which is why I took the time to read it. It was ok. I did like the comparisons she made from the different shells to life, but felt that it was dated. She does admit this in the "re-opened" section at the end of the book. Some true statements I found in this book are:

pg.39: "Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim."

pg. 58:
Mark Mortensen
Jul 26, 2012 Mark Mortensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, spirituality
The title of this book “Gift from the Sea”, shelved in the classic section, caught my immediate attention as I love the sea and then my eye noticed the author, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The wife, who lived in the shadows of famed aviator Charles Lindberg, lost her first born to abduction, was an English major at Smith College and became a well accomplished person in her own right. I was further drawn to understand the sea’s gift.

The beach along the sea is a calm location to pause and reflect upon
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2015 Reading Chal...: Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1955) 1 10 Aug 28, 2015 04:16PM  
book review 1 12 May 12, 2015 06:54AM  
Recommended! 12 105 Jan 30, 2015 01:24PM  
Reader's Ink: August's Book 7 17 Aug 31, 2013 10:45AM  
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Anne Morrow Lindbergh was born in 1906. She married Charles Lindbergh in 1929 and became a noted aviator in her own right, eventually publishing several books on the subject and receiving several aviation awards. Gift from the Sea, published in 1955, earned her international acclaim. She was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Aviation Hall ...more
More about Anne Morrow Lindbergh...

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“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.” 1311 likes
“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”
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