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My Life with Charlie Brown Hardcover – March 12, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Inge’s gathering of “Schulz’s major prose writings” attests the cartoonist’s consistency. He wrote without drawing as limpidly as he did with. His sentences are as chaste and precise in diction, as direct in address, and as lucid in meaning as the words he put in the Peanuts gang’s speech and thought balloons. His stylistic peers are Hemingway and the best of the lean, clean, mostly crime-fiction writers who followed Papa. But he’s never as passive as Papa, never as sentimental as those crime-fictionists. He sounds ingenuous and comradely, one person talking to another, engaged but uncontentious. He’s that way in the big pieces here, all excerpts from Peanuts Jubilee (1975), in which he’s spellbinding about his life, his creative process, and the themes of his great comic strip. He waxes most enthusiastic about religion when young (older, he is more diffident on that score), about golf when older, about hockey always. The previously unpublished fragments Inge includes sometimes approach prose poetry. All in all, verification that Schulz was an artist, indeed. --Ray Olson

From the Inside Flap

Autobiographical essays, introductions, articles, reviews, and lectures that tell the personal tale of the Peanuts creator and America's great comic strip

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (March 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604734477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604734478
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles M. Schulz was born November 25, 1922 in Minneapolis. His destiny was foreshadowed when an uncle gave him, at the age of two days, the nickname Sparky (after the racehorse Spark Plug in the newspaper strip Barney Google).

In his senior year in high school, his mother noticed an ad in a local newspaper for a correspondence school, Federal Schools (later called Art Instruction Schools). Schulz passed the talent test, completed the course and began trying, unsuccessfully, to sell gag cartoons to magazines. (His first published drawing was of his dog, Spike, and appeared in a 1937 Ripley's Believe It Or Not! installment.) Between 1948 and 1950, he succeeded in selling 17 cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post--as well as, to the local St. Paul Pioneer Press, a weekly comic feature called Li'l Folks. It was run in the women's section and paid $10 a week. After writing and drawing the feature for two years, Schulz asked for a better location in the paper or for daily exposure, as well as a raise. When he was turned down on all three counts, he quit.

He started submitting strips to the newspaper syndicates. In the spring of 1950, he received a letter from the United Feature Syndicate, announcing their interest in his submission, Li'l Folks. Schulz boarded a train in June for New York City; more interested in doing a strip than a panel, he also brought along the first installments of what would become Peanuts--and that was what sold. (The title, which Schulz loathed to his dying day, was imposed by the syndicate). The first Peanuts daily appeared October 2, 1950; the first Sunday, January 6, 1952.

Diagnosed with cancer, Schulz retired from Peanuts at the end of 1999. He died on February 13, 2000, the day before Valentine's Day--and the day before his last strip was published--having completed 17,897 daily and Sunday strips, each and every one fully written, drawn, and lettered entirely by his own hand--an unmatched achievement in comics.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bud on December 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It is a sad commentary on our society that the sensationalist, opportunist, and prurient "accounting" of Schulz's life a few years ago could elicit so much sales, attention and publicity, while this one languishes in relative obscurity. But if you're a true fan of good ol' Charlie Brown (and know why to avoid calling it "Peanuts"), I cannot recommend any book more strongly than this one to learn about who Charles Schulz was.

This book is essentially a collection of speeches, essays, interviews, and other first person accounts which Schulz gave in his lifetime. Those who claim that Schulz was some kind of brooding, withdrawn tragic figure who kept to himself are looking through the prism of today's tabloid society where an inquisitive public must know the deepest darkest secrets of anyone with any kind of celebrity status. Especially for the era that Schulz lived, he was exceptionally giving and remarkably open about sharing wisdom and "trade secrets" to help others, especially aspiring artists and cartoonists.

Throughout this book we learn the things real fans of Schulz care about. His influences as a child and young adult, from playing sports as a child to his struggles in school to his military service. The role faith played in his life. How the strip got started and evolved over time. His daily routine in drawing the strip. His relationship and occasional frustrations with his syndicate. The real inspiration behind many of the characters and how they developed over time. How he got new ideas and over the years introduced new concepts and story lines into the strip. His surprise at the public reaction to strips such as when Linus and Lucy moved out of the neighborhood, and when Sally told her brother that she prayed in school.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on April 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a collection of writings by Charles M. Schulz who won fame and fortune by his creation of Peanuts, a cartoon strip still read by millions of people ten years after his untimely death. Most of the writings have been published already in various magazines or came from speeches he made many years ago before his death in 2000. Few are unpublished notations. All that have been complied into this one book. This book allowed the reader to look into Schulz's life, his creation and his outlook in an almost autobiographical term. Its a very reflective book on Charles Schulz as he writes mostly about himself and his experiences. Its a short book, 193 pages including the index. The man who edited this book is M. Thomas Inge. In case some of you do not know, he also edited another book titled "Charles M. Schulz Conversations", a book that complied many of Schulz's best interviews.

If you combined both books, you will probably get a very interesting, insightful and informative understanding of Charles Schulz as a man, as a cartoonist and as a human being. They are probably closest thing you can have to an autobiography.

Of course, the only reason why this book did not received five stars is that few entries in this book have already published in another book titled "Peanuts Jubilee" by Charles M. Schulz (who else?) that was published back in 1975. I still owned that book so I thought maybe Mr. Inge could have chosen a different set of entries. Its one thing to take an article here or there from various magazines but from another Peanuts book is something else.

For anyone interested in Charles M. Schulz and his creation, I guess I can say that reading this book would be a no brainer. Reading it with "Charles M. Schulz Conversations" will allow you to get the facts from straight from the source. While not a perfect format, this would have to do until some one can do real justice to Schulz by writing a real biography!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By 80s fan on June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was a good book. I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot about Charles Schulz, his life, and the strip. Peanuts is one of my favorite strips ever. The book even has a few comics inside of it. It has autobiographical essays, introductions, articles, reviews, and lectures that tell the personal tale of The Peanuts creator and America's greatest comic strip. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Peanuts. Again if you are Peanuts fan than this is the book for you. Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marina Montanaro on March 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The love for Cartoons that exudes from Mr. Schulz words is contagious. Often sad, which is as it should be, since, as he puts it: "Happiness does not create humor" (p. 125). Broken Hearts, Charlie Browns and of course Cartoonists would certainly love it.
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By Robb Lightfoot on April 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have the paper copy of this, and I found it to offer interesting insights into Schulz's mind. I am particularly interested in how, for decades, he managed to create day after day. I'm convinced it was because he had an ensemble cast of interesting characters. Their setting offered him a chance to have them confront the big and small dramas of his day. So much of his work has aged well that it still rings decades later. But it's worth knowing that some biographers have debunked parts of his story. (The family takes issue with some of these accounts.) But I think it's important to read what Schulz has to say about himself and his characters, who seem to have a mind of their own.
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By Ken on November 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very good collection of Charles Schulz writings - some more interesting than others, but overall a fun read. Some history, some lessons and some philosophy. Insights into the mind behind the comic strip that amazes me in its ability to transcend time and cultural changes. You can pick up a collection Mr. Schulz created in the 50's and 60's and they still seem fresh.
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