Friday, July 22, 2011

iRead "My Life as a Furry Red Monster"

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of catching a screening of the documentary Being Elmo at the Independent Film Festival Boston. The film tells the tale of Kevin Clash, the talented Muppeteer and the man who has made Elmo famous. Fortunately, Clash, Elmo, and the team behind the film were there for a question and answer session after the film. What started as a brief few minutes with Kevin and a few minutes with Elmo, turned into over an hour of interaction between Elmo and the audience. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience! The screening inspired me to read Clash's book My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud.

I found the book to be extremely similar to the film. This is refreshing, though. Clash's story and rise to fame are clear and inspiring. My favorite part of both the book and the film is his relationship with puppet-builder Kermit Love. Love mentored Clash, assisting him in refining his puppet-building techniques and his networking within the business.

Moments such as Clash's experience as a substitute puppeteer on the Sesame Street float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade are vivid and detailed. As a reader, you can feel Clash's enthusiasm and youthful awe.

The book is organized by Elmo's well-known, pro-social characteristics: Love, Joy, Creativity, Tolerance, Courage, Friendship, Cooperation, Learning, Optimism. The reader learns how important Elmo and Sesame Street have been in Clash's development and acquisition of these qualities.

The central themes of both the book and the film are to dream big and work hard. Again, the book and film are incredibly similar. If you had to pick one, I would recommend the film. In it are home videos of Clash and his family, footage of his early performances and television programs as well as an exclusive look at an early encounter with Kermit Love.

You can find the book here.

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