Book Review: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull- Richard Bach
Jonathan Livingston Seagull- Richard Bach

I have no idea why people love this book so much. I tried to, I did too, I really did, but god help me if I can understand a stupid seagull wanting to be Houdini.

First and foremost, I have a problem with Richard Bach’s writing. Look at his name, he’s called Bach. You expect great things out of Bach. I’m sure loadsa people just picked this stuff because they had heard good things about the name Bach. Well, then they couldn’t say they didn’t like it, could they? All the classic jazz and peer pressure stuff.

So I’d hear great things about this book, but I wasn’t ever that interested.  But one day I chanced upon it and picked it up from a friend (which reminds me, I must return it, it’s so not worth keeping). The first part went on fine, with poor seagull not wanting to conform to the norms of seagull society and blah blah. Yeah, we all get that sod about individuality and perfection and whatnot. But Bach can turn the most interesting subjects into spiritual tripe with his plaintive writing and over-pondering on bigger picture with help of Chinese mysticism.

Somewhere in part two and three he stumbles onto a mish mash of physics, aerodynamics, living in a higher plane and love, yes love. I get it that there’s an allegory, a larger metaphor here but he just turned the topic and the allegory into a big gob of boring mumbo-jumbo.

I’m anyway not much of a person to read self-help or spiritual books, and this a bit of both. If you are the kind, go ahead, go learn to fly and be high and all that. If you’re not the kind, save your breath, and brains, and time.

You can also read other reviews here.

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