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Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

By Gail Hudson

"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. The dreamy seagull photographs by Russell Munson provide just the right illustrations--although the overall packaging does seem a bit dated (keep in mind that it was first published in 1970). Nonetheless, this is a spirituality classic, and an especially engaging parable for adolescents.



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"Ah, "Seagull"... I remember that this was one of the books we had to read in Grade 12 English class; apparently it was a favourite of our teacher (Hi, Mrs. Cunningham!). The summer before, I had discovered Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha", and upon reading "Seagull", it seemed to me that it was merely a watered down imitation of "Siddhartha". In class, I went on to totally trash the book, noting the similarities between it and "Siddhartha", much to Mrs. C's consternation."


"As a very little boy my Grandmother took me to see Jonathan Livingston Seagull, one of very few, after words my grandmother asked me what the movie meant to me , I remember telling her to me it meant life, trying so hard to be noticed in the world and not giving up. Some 25 years later when I was going to give up my navy career my Grandmother responded remember the movie I took you to as a litle boy, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, DONT GIVE UP, Today I have reached 20 years in the Navy, retired... Thanks for my Grandmother and Jonathan Livingston Seagull."




Author: Richard Bach

Released: 1970


Availability: Paperback, hardback, and audio cassette

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