Seagulls are marvelous creatures. Whenever I go to the beach, I always see them. They glide over the sandy shores and soar over crests of waves. But what would it be like to be such a bird? We always see them in the air, flying. Yet, where does their enthusiasm for flying come from? Why don't they fly high, like eagles and falcons?
This book attempts to answer such questions. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach's fourth book, was written in 1970 and spent many weeks as a number one best seller.
The reader is introduced to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, one of many gulls belonging to Breakfast Flock, a particular gull colony. Every day, the Flock spends their time fighting for food. They fly over fishing boats and piers, and dive for scraps of food and bread. But not Jonathan Seagull.
Jonathan Seagull, instead of fighting and screeching and diving like all the others, spends his time practicing to fly. He doesn't understand the practicality of such monotonous day-to-day activities. Rather, he attempts to perfect his flying abilities. Eventually he becomes the first gull to reach terminal velocity at 214 m.p.h. and later flies the first acrobatics of any seagull on earth.
Jonathan, during his quest for knowledge, says, "How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there's a reason to live! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!"
The entire book deals with flight. Today, we humans are capable of building stealth bombers and supersonic jet planes. A hundred years ago, human flight was only in its thinking stage. The irony remains that we are still possessed with human flight, only this time around, we are more concerned with fulfilling space flight.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a heart-warming story depicting an extraordinary experience. The book, though almost 130 pages, is filled with many up-close pictures of seagulls, as captured by photographer Russell Munson.
Richard Bach brings us a story filled with emotion, potential, and spirit. The author dedicated this parable "To the Real Jonathan Seagull, who lives within us all."
Ray Bradbury, a prolific science-fiction writer, commented, "Richard Bach with this book does two things. He gives me Flight. He makes me Young." n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.