Saturday, August 22, 2009

Schulz and Peanuts, by David Michaelis

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, by David Michaelis

Charles M. Schulz was both a complicated and simple man. The beloved creator of Peanuts poured a lot of himself into his characters, but Charlie Brown is by no means Charles Schulz. Multiple affairs and a deep sadness marked Schulz’s life, who continually was depicted as a socially-awkward, self-involved man—far from the lovable loser in the funny papers. On the other hand, Sparky (Schulz’s nickname) remained a straightforward and down-to-earth person for his entire life, despite his fame and fortune. I suppose this oxymoronic behavior is fitting for a man that wrote a comic strip about children that waxed philosophical.

For a book about a humorist, there is very little humor found here; I find it surprising that a comic that ran for so long and was so amusing was created by a man that doesn’t seem that funny. I didn’t expect him to be cracking jokes constantly, but there wasn’t really any indication that Schulz had any comedy at all in his personality. While Schulz’s history is interesting, once I realized how many of his experiences made their way into the strip I found myself wanting more details on the backstory of Peanuts and less of the creator sitting at a coffee shop. Regardless, an interesting story that brought out many fond memories of reading the funnies as a kid.

First Sentence:
The great troop train, a quarter-mile of olive green carriages, rolled out of the depot and into the storm.

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