The New York Times looks at the reaction of the family of Charles Schulz to a new biography of the Peanuts creator, which reportedly depicts him as “a depressed, cold and bitter man who was constantly going after different women.”
The author, David Michaelis, had been granted full access to the cartoonist’s papers by the Schulz family:
Jean Schulz, Charles’ second wife, said she read about three-quarters of Mr. Michaelis’s third draft. She didn’t disagree that her husband, whom friends called Sparky, was “melancholy,” but she said that was only part of the story: “It’s not a full portrait. Sparky was so much more. Most of the time he loved to laugh.
“Part of what puzzles people about Sparky was that he talked about the actual physical sensation that he had from being anxious, the ‘sense of dread’ when he got up in the morning. But he had a Buddhist acceptance of life and its ups and downs. He functioned perfectly well.
“David couldn’t put everything in,” she said, but added, “I think Sparky’s melancholy and his dysfunctional first marriage are more interesting to talk about than 25 years of happiness.” She quoted her husband’s frequent response to why Charlie Brown never got to kick the football: “Happiness is not funny.”
Schulz and Peanuts is due in stores next week.