Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prongs - Fifth Review - Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Hey everybody, Prongs here bringing you another review. This one is short and quick and will hopefully help you get that literary fix I am sure you addicts are in the need of by now. Sorry for the lack of reviews, both Padfoot and I have been swamped at school and my 6th re-read of The Fountainhead has been holding me back a bit. I did however thankfully have time to finish this quick read (took me less then half an hour) and hopefully all of you will be able to find time someday to get to it as well. We hope to be back later this week with a review of The Rum Diary by Padfoot, as well as some more interesting literary links.

Before I sign off I wanted to give a special thanks to Martin from
for mentioning our blog in his latest post! We greatly appreciate it and hope all you Hunter S. Thompson fans out there will check out his blog.
-mischief managed-

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Richard Bach
"But Jonathan Livingston Seagull...was no ordinary bird."

Once in awhile you come across those stories or books that can completely rock your entire view on life. It does not happen too often and when it does you are inexplicably changed. One of those books that has done this for me is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. I am often impressed by the way that some of the shortest stories that I have read can end up having the biggest effects on me. Richard Bach's novella stands at less then 100 pages (including pictures) but has enough magic and awe-inspiring writing to last a lifetime.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a bird who wants nothing more than to fly. Raised in a group of gulls that saw flying as
only a means to an end, Jonathan challenged their way of life by believing that flying could be about more than transportation or getting food... it could be about joy and happiness and freedom. When told he was irresponsible for trying exceed his expectations Jonathan replied:
"Who is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows a meaning, a higher
purpose for life? For a thousand years we have scrabbled after fish heads -- and now we have a reason to live -- to learn, to discover, to be free!"
An outcast from his flock, Jonathan took his exile with a grain of salt, finding joy in his love for flight and his constant desperate desire to grow and to learn. He pushes himself to the breaking point and is never satisfied enough with his knowledge and never tires of the quest to obtain more. Bach gives us a character who (like many others in history) stands alone with his ideas and beliefs and is rewarded for his patience and courage. The second half of the book shows Jonathan learning so much that he transcends his earthly form into a higher plane of being. Here, Jonathan is met with other gulls who like him, strive for excellence and do not see flying as a means to an end, but simply love to fly for the sake of loving it. This part begins to reflect a bit of the Buddhist mindset about heaven and a universal knowledge which can seem a bit confusing at first. Jonathan finally returns to his flock on Earth to try for better or worse to show that there is more to life than what they are striving for.
"Are you saying that I can fly?"
"I am saying that you can be free."
After readin
g this novella you begin to think, if only I was given the gift of flight I would be just like Jonathan... I would ride the winds and find joy in growing and learning, always striving to be the best bird that I could be. But who among us would really do that? How many out there pass up the special gifts that we possess as humans, to live a life that is only a means to an end. Jonathan Livingston Seagull teaches us to see joy in the possibility of never being content and the beauty in striving for perfection. If a seagull could see the truth in this, why is it so hard for us to? We don't have to be rich or famous, or falcons or eagles to be better, we need only to see that there is potential in even the ordinary, and then act upon that.
"For each of them, the most important thing in living was to reach out and touch perfection in that which they most loved to do, and that was to fly."
I would recomm
end this book for anyone who doesn't wish to be shown up by a bird...


  1. Wow, a really great review, really would want to pick this up. I always buy books 3-4 times a month and unfortunately, I haven't seen even a shadow of this book whenever I go book shopping. But I'll definitely pick it up when I see it and remember your review! :P

    Maybe I'm sort of a bit like Jonathan. I find much joy from growing and learning and I don't mind if I have to do it for a lifetime! :)

    Much Love,

  2. Beautifully written review! I'm glad to have been introduced to your blog!

  3. Love your review! I always enjoy reading what you have to say. I read this book back in Junior High when it first came out....ooooooo, now I'm dating
    I'm going to have to take another look at it again. You've reminded me of how great it is!
    Keep up the beautiful writing! Love your work!

  4. Thanks so much for the comments. I can only hope that people will like my writing as much as I do haha. Nothing makes me happier than hearing someone will pick up a new book, especially if I was a factor in the decision! Make sure to come back and let me know what you thought (or re-thought haha) after you read.

  5. Well, believe me, your writing is better than you think!

  6. This is one of my all time favorite books. My Mom read it to me a million times when I was a kid. I used to have an old copy of it somewhere ... *digs through boxes* ... can't find it now.

  7. Must be an enjoyable read Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.


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