My Life as a Furry Red Monster

My Life as a Furry Red Monster

Book Review
My Life as a Furry Red Monster
What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud

By Kevin Clash with Gary Brozek
Reviewed by

The man, the voice, and the personality behind Elmo, the furry red monster on Sesame Street are revealed in this inspiring book. Kevin Clash shares his personal success through his beliefs and values in his book.

The book, My Life as a Furry Red Monster, is journey of a child’s love of puppets turned into an adult success story. The book reminds us of how children see the world and how often times in our adult life we forget the simple things in life. To quote from the book, “But unlike me, and like most three-and-a-half years-olds, Elmo has almost no inhibitions about laughing. He never worries about what others think.” This quote made me think how often we, as adults, don’t laugh as often as we should, and the many times we get caught up in what other people may think. Throughout the book, you will find many statements that may make you question why can’t we be more like Elmo.

The book is filled with real life examples of both successes and failures written in a story format. Based on a true-life inspiring story, Kevin’s book reinforces that it is possible to turn our dreams into our reality.

Inspirational Quotes from the book:
I was soaking up the magic of inspiration, remembering the pure and simple fun of being a child, and claiming the gift that had literally been thrown at me.

I had always dared to dream large, but even this black kid’s imagination could not have come close to inventing the storybook success that I have enjoyed in the nearly thirty years I’ve worked in this medium I adore.

As adults, we can’t return to those simple days of childhood, but we can draw on their lessons to recapture some very basic pleasures, like that joyful feeling that the sky’s the limit.

I believe that this little red monster may hold the key to unlocking that most elusive of fairy-tale treasures; a happy life with promise of a happy ending.

Elmo connects with children and adults on the purest and most fundamental level, and that is the human desire to love and be loved.

Love makes you do crazy things sometimes.

. . . the first time in my adult life when I finally comprehended the ancient notion that what you put out in the universe comes back to you.

When I am performing Elmo in front of the camera, I remind myself that somewhere out there, there’s an impressionable kid perched as close to the television as I used to sit, feeling that same electromagnetic pull, want to reach through that screen to touch and be touched. Like my mother, like Elmo, I strive to touch the heart of every child I come into contact with, because that connection is so vital.

Mom and Dad also knew that with big dreams comes the potential for big hurts. When you love someone you want to protect that person, particularly if it’s a child, but like all parents, they couldn’t protect their children from every hurt and they knew it.

When you’re a parent, everything changes. You’ll see things differently – just you wait.

Though Elmo is quick to say “Elmo loves you,” he doesn’t express his feelings through words alone. Elmo backs up his words with warm hugs and a gentle rain of kisses for any child who wants them. Sometimes, for some kids, words simply aren’t enough.

When you reach out to hold someone’s hand, or hug them or kiss them, you’re affirming that your love truly exists.

No matter who you are – a big yellow bird, a grouch in a can, a frog in a trench coat, or a furry red monster – you can love and be loved and find your place in the world.

What’s the fun of celebrating if you have to celebrate all by yourself? Joy, like love, is the sweetest when it’s shared with others.

And one of the things that I’ve always loves about children is their vivid, unrestrained, and far-reaching imaginations – the depth and breadth of their creativity.

Even now, each success I have as a performer and artist feeds my desire to try new things and push the boundaries of my creativity.

Elmo gives us grown-ups the permission kids never need to let our creative juices flow and maybe, just maybe, to reenter the world of make-believe and let some of our dreams come true.

If children are not taught to value themselves, then they will not value others. And if they don’t learn to respect each other, then those damaging assumptions about things like race and gender and religion will begin to blur their vision of the world.

. . . I learned that you can’t be afraid to fail, because you never know true success unless you have a flop or two (or six).

The book will encourage you to keep looking ahead and not be stuck in a rut. I couldn’t agree more with the author’s comment, “When we feel stuck or just down, it’s easy to dwell on what was and what could have been, but children remind us that we don’t grow and that things don’t get better unless we keep looking ahead.”

Filled with tips for a better life, I would recommend this book for both teenagers and adults. It is available from

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