Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones, This book paints a picture of a hardworking puppeteer, director. writer, composer, and creator. I loved this book, I’m a huge fan of the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle rock, The Labyrinth, and The Dark Crystal. This book really drives home Henson’s character, insane work ethic, and his visionary ideas. The book is a almost 500 pages (almost 600 pages with the citations) and when I finished I still wanted more. Some of the stories I had got pieces of from other books that I’ve already read about the making of Sesame Street and the behind the scenes look at SNL in the early years, but this book expanded on some of those. This is my second biography by Brain Jay Jones the other one was about George Lucas, I liked the Jim Henson book more, some of the stories overlap when talking about Jim creating Yoda the puppet for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, and having puppeteer/director Frank Oz eventually do the voice for the character.
What I found Interesting in the book: Henson never wanted to be a puppeteer and it was just a way for him to be on TV and always saw himself being a set decorator, until he went to Europe and got to truly see puppeteering as an art form. His work ethic was incredible, I felt exhausted reading about how often he bounced around from one place to another. When he signed the Muppets over to Disney he was working on rides and a cafe where muppets actually serve the food, but he passed away before he could finish the cafe is still there but it is just a cafe. He died when I was ten and I was deeply hurt even then I knew it was to soon and when you read the detailed timeline of those final days it’s so tense and you almost want to shout through the book to get that man to the hospital. I would have loved to have seen what that man still had in store for us, and am grateful that his legacy still lives on through his creature shop and his children Brian and Lisa.
What I Liked: The greatness in the book is the research put into it and the fact that the author got to see documents that were only seen my family and close friends. The pictures some haven’t been seed before and were in Henson’s private collection. The stories from the sets and all the guest Stars of the muppet show that tell a story or two. The whole story of how the Rainbow Connection came about was so special.
What I Disliked: it’s narrative structure than anything else, it is sometime difficult to get through, especially the first chapter as it will talk about someone then give you the backstory, it was difficult to keep track of who is who. also through out the book it will oddly foreshadow the future of a person, so when you get to the part in the book it feels a little like a repeat of information.
Recommendations: This book is awesome for a casual fan to a total fanboy, you will love this book. This is book is a love letter to dreamers that anything is possible if you believe. I rated Jim Henson: The Biography 5 out of 5 stars.