Less character study of her mother.
To be honest, I stopped listening before I got to the end. After the first half hour, I got tired of hearing about her mom, and skipped ahead... still complaining about her mom. Skipped ahead some more... yep, still on the mom. Now complaining about her dad's ambivalence. Now relating the grandmother to the mom, and showing... Sigh. Not my thing. I gave up.
Her observations on people's expectations regarding death. Which again, I will be honest, I did not get to in the book, but I heard her explaining this part of the book in an interview on All Things Considered and it piqued my interest.
The author's narration is great. It sounds natural and emotive. I think I just had the wrong idea about what the book would be when I heard it was a collection of essays. I think of essays like "Topic A... Discuss," "Topic B... Discuss". But the book is closer to an autobiography with a lot of storytelling from her life. So it's probably unfair for me to judge the book as bad--it was just not what I expected, and I've got reader's remorse.
It's wearying for me to listen to an author go on at length about the failings of another person. I understand the value in writing about true experience, and like the idea that someone will have courage to say "unspeakable" things that are true. I just prefer a constructive viewpoint, and this seemed too much like venting for my taste.
There are several good actors reading and excellent audio production. This is a made-for-audio performance.
When the program was over, I felt a bit unsatisfied. I think I was looking for more biographical content and facts mixed in with the feel-good, inspirational quotes.
There was variety and real acting ability in the narrators. I did get tired of Whoopi Goldberg sounding like she was reading a storybook to me as a child.
It's pretty short and easy to listen to in one sitting. There is great variety to the audio, so it keeps you paying attention.
You have to be a bit sappy to get into this. It's got eye-rolling stuff like linking Fraggle Rock character dialogue to an inspirational view of the world. And maybe adults that love Sesame Street and the Muppets are more willing to indulge a bit of childishness. I did enjoy hearing about Jim Henson's unique working style and motivations. In fact, it's the counterpoint to a modern idea that great success requires treating people poorly and being opportunistic. (E.g. Steve Jobs style)
Although the mixture of quotes and anecdotes was pleasant and well-produced, the program would have been more powerful if there were more content about Jim Henson's life. For example, it's fascinating to me that Jim Henson didn't want to work on Sesame Street, because he prefered to focus on adult-oriented content, yet decided to do it out of a sense of duty. But life events like that weren't really discussed.
In the end, I'm really glad I listened to this program even though it was a bit fluffy. I recommend it to people that are still in love with Jim Henson's work.
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