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June 11, 2008

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull - Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull - Richard Bach

Book 23 in my 52 books in 2008

This is cheating somewhat, it's a very short book indeed, and I've read it before (though a very long time ago). I seem to remember quite liking it, and I was looking for something undemanding to read in bed while suffering from an annoying cold, and I saw it on the shelf.

[Spoilers below]

I didn't like it as much this time. I'm older and much more cynical. It seems to be some kind of fable or parable, with heavy religious overtones. The narrative is about a seagull, a special bird, who wants to learn to fly as fast as possible. Spoiling the story totally now, He abandons his flock, and is ourtcast by them, but keeps trying. Eventually he attains a skill so advanced, he visits heaven, and can transcend space and time. He becomes a teacher of other gulls (disciples) who go on to become teachers themselves spreading his word (gospel) to unbelievers (me!)

Actually, not only did I not think it good, I was insulted by it's simplicity. Not only is there all this heaven stuff, but something that annoyed me was that the gull always knew exactly how fast he was flying in MPH - that's a bit of a stretch of the imagination. Maybe not as much as believing in different levels of heaven and moving through the space/time continuum like Doctor Who, but enough to niggle.

I have no idea why this sold over 1 million copies, or why it was made into a film with a concept album/soundtrack by Neil Diamond (which I haven't heard). It's not worth it. But as a piece of 1970s pop culture, and a less than 30 minute read, I guess it has some historical interest.

Posted by se71 at June 11, 2008 11:26 AM


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