In 1970, newly rich and famous from the success of Jonathan Livingston Seagull , Richard Bach, Jonathan Bach's father, left his wife, Bette, and their six children when Jonathan was two. ``Jonny,'' who was named after the improbable bird, here tells about life in the fractured family after his father's ``daddy-part died,'' as Bette put it. The boy grew up thinking dads were ``redundant'' and was content working with his mother, a pilot who sold airplane rides at fields in New England. After his mother married a draconian taskmaster, Jonny clung closer still to Bethany, his younger sister and best friend. But when Jonny was 16, he was at the wheel during a car crash that injured him--and killed Bethany. His father and his second wife, Leslie, seemed to ignore the tragedy, deepening Jonny's resentment and sense of abandonment. Yet readers will sense the coming rapprochement. Swayed by Richard and Leslie's side of the story, Jonny now lives near them in Seattle, far from his mother in Vermont. His writing debut is promising if naive and too long, unfortunately showing the influence of his father, who supplies a gushy afterword. (May)
Jonathan Bach was named for the famous seagull created by his father, the author Richard Bach. When Jonathan was two, his parents divorced. There was little contact between father and son for the next 20 years. Jonathan describes his longing, anger, resentment, and confusion at being unable to know his father and his joy at their reconciliation and the new relationship they are building. Unfortunately, this book is episodic rather than analytical, and the writing is amateurish. It reports what happened but provides little understanding of the complex characters involved in this sad domestic drama. And though Jonathan intends readers to admire his father, Richard Bach comes across as smug and self-satisfied, and Jonathan himself lacks self-awareness. Recommended only for libraries with a high demand for Richard Bach's books.-- Judy Mimken, Saginaw Valley State Univ., Mich.
Bach may not wish to be known first and foremost as Richard's (as in "Jonathan Livingston Seagull") son, but this memoir may well cement his identity as the famous writer's progeny and the seagull's namesake! The story he relates is often touchingly naive, with teenage angst and the emotional aftermath of divorce taking on almost formulaic qualities. The young man who was abandoned while still a toddler (along with five siblings) comes to deal with his absent father only after the death of his youngest sister leaves him bitter and resentful. For Jon, the budding journalist, an intimate journal helps unravel the obstacles to a rapprochement between himself and his father and father's second wife, Leslie Parrish. A family drama with a happy ending emerges from the son's portrayal of the well-known author, amid details of alienation and misunderstandings with his brood of children. It will no doubt prove highly interesting to multitudes of Bach's fans.