Reviews of Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1972)
Review by brad (2005-07-15)
This is a sublime and inspirational fable about the timeless quest for higher meaning ... told in this case though the eyes of an sensitive, lonely, and highly intelligent seagull, named Johnathan.
I first read it when I was in high school, and at the time it moved me ... very deeply. I also grew up on a beach, where seagulls always maintain a constant presence , which made the metaphorical vehicle for this story even more apt in my case. It remains one of my very favorite books, even to this very day.
The truly amazing thing is how elegantly, simply, and deftly the author covers such profound material, with such a minimum of effort and words. The book weighs in at a mere 128 pages ... over half of them photos of seagulls ... so it's actually less than 60 pages. If you reformatted it to small, normal size print, it'd probably drop to about 20 or 30 pages. I recently re-read it in about 2 hours, so it's a very fast read - but it's tiny size is greatly outweighed by it's emotional and spiritual impact. One could easily argue that the story is prose poetry, rather than a novella, because of it's well honed cadence.
I highly recommend this gem for anyone in their teens and twenties, who's groping (as we all do at that age) for our emotional, spiritual, and intellectual niche(s) and touchstone(s) in society, and life in general.
Life is hard and lonely and painful at times - but every once in a while we stumble across a rare gem ... be it a person or a moment or a song or a book or the touch of a friendly hand ... that helps us catch a glimpse of what it's reallly all about, and which lets us know that we're not alone, and that there are others out there like us who occasionally 'get it' too.