Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Pages: 87
Genre: Fiction
Read: June 2017
Rating: 4/10

Adjectives To Describe This Book: Out there, Spiritual, Preachy

I’ve heard about this book for years now. Everyone says it’s a ‘classic’, a ‘must read’. However, it’s often equated to ‘spiritualism’ and for the longest time I was like ‘Aint nobody got time for that!’

Then one day I went to a second-hand book market and I found this book and said, ‘Okay, make some time.’ And so I did. I picked up the book grudgingly and I read it.

The good thing about this book is that it is a really short read. Finished it in a matter of an hour. It has some interesting lessons to learn, however, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. But in a way, it was.

Here are some of my takeaways from the book. Nothing new, but at that time (1970s), I’m assuming it was out of the ordinary. Hence, the love and appreciation.

  • Purpose: Alleviate yourself from the drudgery of common life. Find a higher purpose, something you work towards, something that gives you joy.
  • Hone your craft – practice, practice, practice!
  • On the road to achieve something great, you will face opposition. Even if they banish you, you must not say ‘fuck em’. Be the bigger person. If you think this will change the course of things, stick with your gut. One day they will come around. (Reminded me of Galileo)

I liked the book till page 57, and then an exchange about friendship and time and space happened between Jonathan Seagull & Sullivan Seagull and I cringed. From then on, as the spiritual gyaan was hurled at me, I cringed more. I guess I can safely say I’m not spiritual?

The main theme of the book is self-discovery i.e. letting go of ‘who the world says you are’ and understanding ‘who you are’. I agree with this thought though I can deal with this only on a superficial level. At this time in life, I cannot deep dive into this process. Hence, I appreciate this book and will keep its thoughts and takeaways with me. However, it isn’t a book that truly affected my core.

Also, I can’t deal with the ‘Break the chains of your thought and thus, break the chains of your body’, ‘You are but you aren’t’ kind of BS.

So for those wondering, ‘Hey Smriti, should I read this book or not?’ I say, ‘Yeah dude. Go for it. It’s a really short read and it has some interesting things to say. It also has some blasé photographs of seagulls, if you’re into that.’


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