Book Review: "My Life as a Furry Red Monster" by Kevin Clash
by Ruby Bayan - 09/21/06
“With Elmo as my partner, with my family as my inspiration, I’ve learned that love works best when we keep it simple, when we remember to say it and show it, and, most of all, when we share it.”
This is just one of the countless insights and life’s lessons that Kevin Clash imparts in his adorable gift book, “My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud.” An easy and enjoyable read, this book is one of the most enthralling of the many inspirational life stories I have encountered.
My Life as a Furry Red Monster is divided into nine chapters: love, joy, creativity, tolerance, courage, friendship, cooperation, learning, and optimism. In each chapter, Clash (as himself or through Elmo) reveals his experiences, emotions, and reactions to the people and situations around him, and, in a very subtle manner, imparts the lessons he learned along the way.
Using anecdotes and snippets from his life as the-man-behind-Elmo, Clash tells us of his early childhood sitting close to the television gaping at Sesame Street characters, and later performing with puppets on stage in the community hall. He shares his awe on his first trip to the huge warehouse where they created Big Bird and Snuffalopagus, and on his first appearance in the Macy’s Parade. He tells us of his nervous excitement over meeting and eventually working with his childhood idols Jim Henson and Frank Oz, and winning his first of several Emmy awards.
The book is engaging not only because the real life Kevin Clash/Elmo persona is a fairy tale success story everyone would envy; not only because the three-and-a-half-year-old red-furred monster’s laughter, innocence, and unconditional love is heartwarming; but also because the book overflows with touching highlights, moving revelations, and simple ways to discover life’s complex lessons.
Kevin Clash’s life as Elmo is colorful, uplifting, and inspirational. He wrote this book for us as his way of practicing one of the best lessons he learned -- that love works best when we share it.