Janet's Reviews > Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Mar 08, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: life, spirituality
Recommended for: people who are inspired by Abraham Lincoln

"Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight--how to get from shore to food and back again," writes author Richard Bach in this allegory about a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull. "For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight."

Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes the story soar. Ultimately this is a fable about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe, or neighborhood finds your ambition threatening. (At one point our beloved gull is even banished from his flock.) By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate payoff: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness.

I read this book when I was a teenager, it set the stage for a life of searching for a higher purpose and today, almost 40 years later, my life is heaven on earth.

In Abraham Lincoln's words...

"All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind." Abraham Lincoln

And M. Scott Peck's words...

"Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and to begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience -- to appreciate the fact that life is complex." M. Scott Peck
77 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

03/26 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6)

dateUp arrow    newest »

Marion Thank you for your review - I'm glad to see others of us "Jonathan"s are still around. Sad that others posted reviews, as well as my parents saw this as "self indulgent" where I saw it as quite the opposite - where eating is necessary to become, and most others then focused on eating then as a means to its own end, Jonathan accepted the necessity of eating so as to come to some end other than its own self (eating for the sake of eating as opposed to eating for the sake of flying (becoming))

Julio García Loved your review

Soham Beautiful review!!

message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Thank You! I related to this book as a teenager that never quite fit in. I was able to transcend my worries and understand that I could soar despite my differences.

T.L. Jones I read this book as a pre-teen; it was the first, non-children's book I ever read and I loved it. It inspired me to dream, to reach for the stars and made me want to achieve my dreams. I felt it was magical and I felt I was flying right along with Jonathan and together we went soaring.

message 1: by T.L. (last edited Mar 26, 2016 06:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

T.L. Jones I'm shocked by some of the reviews that find so much to dislike - readers can suspend their disbelief for a boy forced to live under that stairs that then is magically transported to a school for wizards, or a boy who never grows up and loves to fly, but not a seagull who loves the pleasure of flying? Come on people, just enjoy the story for what it is, dreaming and flying! Harry Potter doesn't "fit in" the real world, Peter Pan doesn't "fit in" the real world, so why fault a story about a seagull for not "fitting in" in the real world - all these stories have in common a character that does "not fit into the real world" and they find or seek a world in which they do fit in and we love them for it. As an aside, in my book "Peter and the Band of Pirates" a Peter Pan prequel, "Peter" does fit in the real world quite naturally and like most kids he just wants to explore, discover the world around him and wishes he could fly like a bird... "oh, such fun!"

back to top