Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is an awe inspiring story of realizing the true potential any person can hope to achieve in his life. Jonathan Livingston Seagull is no ordinary seagull. He thinks unlike others, striving for a higher meaning to life than mere survival or existence. He lives for his passion, his passion of flying, of exploring the various ways of flight, of attaining perfection in the one thing he has always loved and cherished- flying. The story revolves around his journey to attain his passion, his quest for perfection. Throughout the story he faces many impediments and several inhibitions but he transcends all of them to live the ideal he cherished. It is the story of self discovery, a story of every living legend in this world. It is a fable every achiever has lived in reality throughout his life. It is about people who have dared to differ from the norm, who have gone against the society to achieve their special place in it. It is a story every person can connect to, a story which can strike at the core of an individual’s existence for we all have at some point of our life tried to break free from the chains which keep us down, which make us tow a line and tried to do things differently, the way we see them.
The story is about attaining great heights, transcending boundaries and continuous learning to achieve “perfection”- a state which is dynamic, which is never absolute and a state which can never be achieved for there is no perfect end, only a perfect journey. Jonathan Livingston Seagull explores these ideas throughout the story, continuously aspires for perfection, experiments with the idea and finally achieves it. It is a story of an unending journey, a quest of a meaningful and fulfilling life. Richard Bach doesn’t intend to make it a story about flight, though his past works have primarily dealt with the various aspects of flying, his passion for a life time. Richard Bach tries to explore the meaning of life, the higher end which gives meaning to an individual’s life, a life worth living beyond the struggle for existence. Through Jonathan Livingston Seagull he experiments with the idea of living for an ideal, living with passion going against all odds, exploring the unknown. In the last part of the fable he also explains the idea of sharing the knowledge, giving back to the world, spreading enlightenment and happiness, undeterred by the criticism and praises of the people who don’t understand the crux of the knowledge they perceive through their senses. The idea is not just to attain an aim in your life, that you have set for yourself but to go beyond that spreading your success to those who need it, who aspire for it and who seek it. The fiction concludes itself with this idea.
The story is short and precise, kept delicately simple and interesting, a must read. On the surface the story appears to be another fable by Bach which predominantly discusses flight as the author goes into exhaustive details about aerodynamics of a flight, which forms a considerable content of the work but the idea explored by the author is passion and not flight if we go deeply into the text.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull is an inspiring story for readers of all ages from all walks of life. An interesting read, it motivates and teaches while it entertains. The story keeps the readers interested throughout and the only thing a reader can want more from this book is that it should have continued. It is such a fine piece of fiction that you hope it just goes on and on.
Book Reviewed By Ashay Anand
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