Monte Schulz, Charles M. Schulz’s oldest son, has posted a comment over on Cartoon Brew regarding the Schulz and Peanuts biography calling the author, David Michaelis “arrogant” and outlines several small and large factual errors in the book.
So, why didn’t I correct him when I read that first version? Because to change the central erroneous nature of what he’d written would have required a massive re-write and re-thinking of the entire book, something he would never have had time to do, even had he the will and the desire, which he obviously did not. I did not want to clean up the minor errors, only to see the bigger ones remain. Again, I’m only touching on a few issues. If any of you want me to answer anything with greater specificity, I’d be happy to do so. I apologize for rambling like this, but the story is very convoluted. I will tell you that NY Times piece happened because a long interview I did for Time magazine was apparently killed somewhere high above the magazine, up at corporate (I’m not allowed to say more than that), and therefore I was directed to the NY Times reporter who, sadly, hadn’t even read the book when we spoke.
Let me tell you, though, that David never met my father, and basically hid from us what he intended to write. This is very apparent when you read some of the email exchanges we had over the years, and what we spoke about on the phone. I used to ask him not to babble about how Dad was depressed all the time because it wasn’t true, and “don’t write some kind of tabloid novel about Dad’s life.” To which he’d always respond, “I wouldn’t spend six years writing that kind of book.” But he did. Oh, someone asked about any of us carrying on Dad’s legacy. Well, none of us can draw, nor do we have the same sensibility he had toward his characters. The strip was his, but we were the ones who made the decision (by renewal copyright law in the ’70s) have the strip die when he did. We have our own lives and interests, though Dad did tell a friend that he thought my fiction was “raising the level of art in the family.” Thanks for that, Dad! Nor true, of course, but I do my best. Yes, all of this, even responding on here is frustrating, but that biography is so absurdly false in so many ways, I could not just be quiet. I’m mostly disappointed that so many reviewers apparently believe what’s in it. Such is life.