Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz

Rheta Grimsley Johnson, Author Pharos Books $17.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-88687-553-4
The popular cartoonist who distills shrewd psychological insights in Peanuts emerges in this authorized biography as a shy man who suffers from chronic depression and agoraphobia, weighs his words carefully and talks much like his comic-strip characters. Johnson, a syndicated columnist, sketches Schulz's boyhood in St. Paul, where his father ran a barber shop. She links his unhappy first marriage, his sense of futility and his deep religiosity to Peanuts 's exploration of themes such as rejection, loss, longing and the nobility of pursuing goals despite near-certain defeat. She interviews Donna Wold, Schulz's unresponsive early love, who inspired ``the little red-headed girl'' of his strips. Johnson also offers superficial analyses of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy and the rest of the gang. Devotees will probably enjoy this innocuous, flattering bio, even though it circles around Schulz without deeply penetrating his inner life. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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