Have you ever felt like you are meant for something but have never got around doing it ?
Maybe because it goes against the expectations that
others have from you or against the conventions that the society you live in has set. If you have ever felt dissatisfied, bound by rules that you don't understand then this book is for you.
Jonathan Livingston Seagullis a story for people who follow their dreams and make their own rules. They are not afraid to fail, not afraid to break the shackles of society, family and are ready to come out of the darkness of the unknown into the known.
Jonathan Livinsgton Seagull, at first glance looks like any other typical seagull except that he unlike other seagulls, wants to fly and perfect his skills. While the other seagulls think that flying is just to facilitate the search for food, Jon knows that flying is more important than this.
"For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly."
So despite warnings from his society, warnings from his family he flies and achieves the highest speed ever flown at by any seagull which also proved that the gulls now could learn flying and eventually catch better fish instead of relying on the stale food they got from boats or the fish they captured from shallow shores. The flock, however, turns a blind eye to him and banishes him
"..for his reckless irresponsibility," and "violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull Family.."
But does he let go of his passion to fly, his zest to perfect his skills and drown in his sorrows?
The answer is No.
Jon continues practicing alone and experiences a spiritual awakening.
The story, written in 1970, was a big hit and continued to be in the best seller lists for a long time. Its still very much relevant even more so in today's scenario where everyone is living to please someone, ignoring their own aspirations along the way.
A short story, very simply written but with some very artistic photographs of seagulls by Russell Munson. Jonathan Livingston Seagullis a book that inspires and challenges to let go of the chains we bind ourselves in and explore the possibilities even if they challenge us to go in directions contradictory to the norms because
"we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome."
Jonathan Livingston Seagullis a must read book and I give it a 4.5 out of 5 for its simplicity, some memorable dialogues, beautiful photos of seagulls in flight and the heartwarming way in which Jon ultimately reaches perfection giving the reader hope and a new determination to achieve everything they thought impossible or against culture/ societal rules.
As it says in the book
"Don't believe what your eyes are telling you.
All they show is limitation.
Look with your understanding.
Find out what you already know and
you will see the way to fly."
The book was made into a movie of the same name and its now on my "to-watch" list. :)