Sunday, June 20, 2010

Jonathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Jonathon Livingston Seagull isn't your ordinary seagull.  By nature, all he wanted to do in life was fly as fast as he could and break the seagull flight record.  He wasn't interested in scavenging food from the fishing boats or bugging the tourists for scraps from their takeaway meals like the others of the Flock.  This worried his parents and they told him if he kept up his flying around he'd be Outcast by the Elders of the Flock.  
Then, one day, the most wonderful thing happened!  He figured out how to break the seagull flight record.  And once he did that, he had also figured out quickly how to turn and tumble while flying just as fast.  However, the Elders of the Flock had found out about his fast flying and ordered a meeting of the Council at the beach; naming and shaming him as an Outcast.  So, Jonathon was turned away from the Flock to live out his life on his own.  But it turned out better than he expected.  He ate better because he didn't have to scavenge. He flew further with less effort and saw the most wonderful lands.
Then came the time when his long life was coming to an end.  A few other seagulls escorted him to another place similar to the beach where the Flock treated him so badly.  But this beach had seagulls who thought just like Jonathon and they taught him much more than he expected; then he was given a choice.  Would he teach the newer seagulls coming into the new beach or go back to the Flock on Earth to teach the ones who wanted to know about his way of flying but were too scared?

I found this book in a Book Baggie I had sent around Australia through Bookcrossing and so when the Baggie came back, I found this little gem inside it.  Within the week, I had picked up Good Reading Magazine and there was a review about it inside.  So, that made the decision for me; I was destined to read this rather small and short book full of lovely black and white photos of seagulls in flight and a lovely story about not being scared to go against the grain when your heart truly encourages you to do so.

Richard Bach was  born in 1936 in Oak Park, Illinois.  He  is the great-great-great-great-grand son of JS Bach. He attended Long Beach State College (now California State University, Long Beach) in 1955.
Though Aviation was his true passion, he always wanted to write; since high school, one of his gym teachers made him realize his potential. Since 1959 he had this idea of a bird learning to pass beyond the walls of limitations, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which came through a "Cinerama on my wall". Almost all his books used airplanes as a way to pass the message.  He has written a number of books with flight involved in them.  

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