At 87 pages (small pages at that) it took me about 2 hours to read this. It tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull who only cares about flying; the higher and faster the better. His refusal to act like the other seagulls and spend his day scrounging around for scraps causes him to be cast out of the group. Hurt but determined to follow his passion, he keeps flying.
The whole book is full of metaphors for the usual trials we all face in life; not fitting in because you are different, finding the strength to follow your dreams, not accepting failure, forgiving people who have wronged you etc etc. It’s an inspirational little read but I must admit I thought it was a bit strange. The writing style is almost biblical, at some points I felt like I was reading a religious story. I also thought I was a bit too old for it (how depressing I’m only 23!) and I would have enjoyed it much more if I had first read it as a child.
The photographs in the book are taken by Russel Munson and I thought they added a lot to it.
Personally I wouldn’t have much respect or admiration for seagulls, I generally associate them with squawking, pooping and ruining peaceful sunbathing experiences! Still I’m sure children wouldn’t have these preconceptions in their way so it’s not hard to see why it has become such a well loved children’s classic.
- Jonathan Livingston – The Seagull (I) (duality28.wordpress.com)
- Sixteen Songs About Seabirds (theawl.com)
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull (feld.com)