Julie 101

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Book Review: Jim Henson

If you know me or have spoken to me in the last couple of months, you will have already heard how much I loved the biography of Jim Henson. I subscribe to Audible so that I can keep myself entertained and get some “reading” in as well on my hour-long commutes 2 times a day. Otherwise I would never be able to fit in 2 hours a day of reading!

I get one “credit” a month which means I can download one book per month. I saw this biography while browsing through and immediately chose it – a whim, but a good one!

JimHenson-BiographyCover I found it so interesting to really learn about the man behind the Muppets, and to learn that he was also behind so many other projects as well. He started off wanting desperately to be in the television industry but never really had a passion for puppetry until later in his (short) life – he always wanted to do other things and didn’t embrace the puppets as his “thing” until much later down the road. He started off working in advertising, using Wilkins and Won’tkins puppets to sell coffee in short TV spots, then moved on to a short  “Sam & Friends” 5 minute spot between the evening news and the tonight show (this show is where Kermit originated!). As his puppets grew more popular, he was able to have the freedom to do more and more – expanding into short experimental films, full length movies, and eventually creating the characters we most associate with the Jim Henson brand – the Muppets, the Fraggles, and Sesame Street. I also found his personal life interesting – his marriage grew out of a business arrangement and never really blossomed too far beyond that. He was a womanizer which … really doesn’t fit with the other things we know about him!

MickeykermitHis ultimate goal was to join forces with Walt Disney which was a deal that was well underway for a long time, but being the full-of-integrity man that he was, he was going through endless rounds of contract negotiations to make sure the integrity of his brand and the security of his company and employees were all well looked after. When he died suddenly it was a shock to the world – and I felt it in my belly as I listened to it in the audiobook.

Throughout the book I found myself smiling as the origins of certain characters were explained – Miss Piggy was originally a background character (moi can not even imagine!), Grover was originally a mean monster, even Kermit didn’t start out as a frog! Hearing each and every one of my favorite characters come to life in this book was wonderful. On the flip side of this emotional trip, however, was the end of the book. The last section I listened to was Jim’s memorial service, and luckily I was driving alone home from work – I sobbed the entire way home because it was just wonderfully sad and uplifting at the same time. I love Jim Henson and everything he created and stood for.

I would highly recommend reading this book as an audiobook – I think the narrator did an excellent job, and was able to do most of the character voices which really brought the whole thing to life.

I’m now searching for another biography to read, since I found it so great to learn about the origins and background of something I always just thought of as just being.

Have you ever read a biography, and did you love it?

One comment on “Book Review: Jim Henson

  1. Cristina
    November 14, 2013

    Does “I Am America (and So Can You)!” by Stephen Colbert count as a biography?

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This entry was posted on November 14, 2013 by in Growing, NaBloPoMo and tagged , .

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