An abandoned son comes to terms with a famous father (Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull) in a memoir that mixes a moving account of a child's confused loyalties and sense of loss with a mÇlange of self-help truisms. Named after the seagull hero, the author never really knew his father until his senior year in college, when his decision to write an initially hostile book about his dad began a dialogue between the two. Bach päre left his family when the youngest of his six children was nine months old and Jonathan only two, ``because he didn't believe in marriage and couldn't be a father anymore.'' And because Richard Bach apparently also didn't believe in birthdays, Christmas, or any of the holidays marked by cards and calls, the children never heard from him. Their mother, a remarkably accomplished woman, moved the family to Vermont, where she later remarried. The author's fierce love and admiration for her made it difficult for him to forgive his father, especially when he learned that Richard was involved with other women. In time, the older children made contact, and then met, with their father, and the young author even sent him some stories of his own--yet anger and anguished inability to understand his father prevented both reconciliation and acceptance. But after Jonathan found Richard's response to his proposed book to be surprisingly supportive, the tentative rapprochement became a complete reconciliation as the son flew out to Seattle to meet his father. As they talked, the author found that his ``misconceptions had dissolved'' and that he'd become ``a distant-son-turned-understanding-friend who, like millions of other people, likes what [Richard] has to say, and how he says it.'' Bach affectingly evokes the anguish of a fatherless childhood- -but less so the reconciliation, as he self-consciously glosses over behavior that, despite high-sounding talk, still seems inexcusable.