David Michaelis’s frank biography of Charles Schulz, portraying his consistent melancholy and lifelong sorrows, has upset some family members, the NY Times reports:
…Monte Schulz said that when he read Mr. Michaelis’s manuscript in December, members of the family were shocked by the portrayal of a depressed, cold and bitter man who was constantly going after different women. “It’s not true,” Monte said. “It’s preposterous.” His sister Amy Schulz Johnson felt the same. “The whole thing is completely wrong,” she said from her home in Utah. “I think he wanted to write a book a certain way, and so he used our family.” “We were all really excited thinking we were going to get to say things about our Dad,” she said, complaining that the children play a very small role in the book.
However, Schulz’s widow, Jean, is more philosophical:
“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.”
Also, Newsweek interviews Michaelis:
NEWSWEEK: You essentially lived with Schulz for seven years. Did you wind up liking him? David Michaelis: “Good grief” is the answer. There is a part of Sparky I like beyond like—I love and admire him. I love the boy who decided he would become a comic-strip artist—and did. He is Gatsby-esque in recognizing an extraordinariness in himself; he is surrounded by ordinariness [while growing up in Minnesota in the years before World War II] but sees in himself this spark of greatness and refuses to be swayed [when his early cartoons are repeatedly rejected]. Plus, the guy got up every morning, and gave his life to his work. He did a brilliant thing, recognizing his role in the world and sticking to it.