Skip to main content

Book Review: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

I chose to read Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach for the Birth Year Reading Challenge because it was listed on the top books of 1972. Unfortunately, I realized after reading it that it was actually originally written in 1970, two years before I was born. But I'm sticking with it anyway! I figure it's close enough ~ at least it was really popular the year I was born!

This is the story of a seagull named Jonathan who is born into a typical flock where every seagull follows the same rules. They stay on the beach at night, and during the day, they fly to fishing boats and other places to find food. They often fight with each other over the food. This is the life of a seagull.

But Jonathan longs for something more. He knows in his heart that he can be more than that. He loves to fly and is determined to learn all there is to know about the art of flying. He doesn't want to fly merely to get food. He wants to soar above the clouds and feel the exhilaration of flight. He wants to push himself to his limits...and beyond. This is unacceptable to the rest of the flock, so Jonathan is banished as an outcast.

His banishment turns out to be a blessing as he is now able to explore flying freely. And when Jonathan crosses over to the next life, he discovers even more about himself and his abilities to fly. He makes the decision to take this new knowledge and bring it back to the flock to help them learn as well, even though they had banished him not long ago.

This was an interesting story that only took a short time to read. It can be read as a simple story about a bird who transcends the typical life of a seagull and becomes more. Or it can be read as a philosophical or even political statement if you want to get deeper ~ and if you check out the Internet, plenty of people have gone that way. There are many themes running through this book: individuality vs. society, perseverance, practice makes perfect, the importance of learning and imparting your wisdom on others, and many more.

Despite all of that, I didn't find it an incredibly deep book. And it's certainly not a difficult read. But I enjoyed it. I think there are some interesting lessons in this story. So if you're looking for something that's somewhat meaningful, but you only have an hour to spare, check it out!

2014 NOTE: There's a new edition of this book, which includes the never-before-published Part Four and Last Words by Richard Bach. Check out Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition!

My Rating: 3.5/5

This review was written based on a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull that I borrowed from the library. This is #7 for the Support Your Local Library Challenge, #2 for the Birth Year Challenge and #5 for the Spring Reading Thing Challenge.


  1. Goodness, I think every 70's housewife or working girl had a copy of this. My Mom did, it was all the rage.

    ...and I've never read it. Much like, "Who Moved My Cheese?", prolly stuff I already know.

  2. My mom had a copy of this book but then she told me not to read it because I just wouldn't get what is like to have read it at the right time. So I never picked it up! That is a great challenge though I need to go look up books of 1971

  3. I read this one and liked it, and yes it is more brief--almost like it's written for children. I'm a big fan of Bach's book One, which I thought was a bit more mature in thought process. But I like those books that make you go...hmm? Like Paulo Coehlo and Richard Bach.

  4. I read this back in the day. I totally missed at the time that it seems to be the seagull version of the classic "hero's journey story." Maybe I should give it a reread.

  5. I was suddenly reminded of this book. When I was eight and in grade three in 1983, our teacher read this to us. I had no idea what it was about and found it very boring compared to books we were reading at the time, like Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary! Now that I read the synopsis, I can see it obviously wasn't something that most children would enjoy. Our teacher was quite the hippy though, so I suppose he was really into it and wanted to share.

  6. I'm stopping in from the hop to say hi and have a look around. Have a great weekend!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. This is one of my favorite book! Nice review :)


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

This week, I'm participating in the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer.

I'm giving away a book of your choice 
up to $10 from Book Depository.
It's that simple. Just visit  Book Depository and choose any book that is selling for $10 or less.

This giveaway is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address (click here to check). The contest ends on Monday, March 5, 2012, at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be picked using and notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what book you want to win.

Check out all the other participants in the giveaway hop!

Book Review: The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.

And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whos…