What do I think of Andrew Blouner’s book published by Literary Classics of the United States? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Normally, I wouldn’t write on a read done just for fun, but this is an exception. I had stopped at the library recently for the latest Mary Higgins Clark (And sadly her last seeing as she passed away last month) when I saw on the displays shelves The Peanuts Papers. I had seen this book on Amazon and was curious, but I hadn’t purchased it. I figured I would check it out and see how it was.
Growing up, I was one of the rare kids who liked Peanuts, at least the reading of the strips. I would regularly go to the library and get the books and read through them again and again and I had my own books of Peanuts at home. Most of the kids preferred Garfield instead. I read Garfield too and liked it, but as I look back, the strip hasn’t really aged well. Peanuts has remained timeless.
Today, if I want to read a funny strip, I will normally go with Fox Trot, and while Peanuts could be funny at times, there was something else going on and my younger self didn’t notice it, but my older one does. Reading many of these essays by cartoonists and others helped me see some aspects that I had missed.
If there was a downside to the book really, I hate to say it, but it was the poems in the middle. I am not averse to poetry, but these seemed to both be ramblings that would occasionally reference the comic strip. I really didn’t see what they had to do with the subject matter.
One aspect of Peanuts that occurred to me is really, Peanuts didn’t change with the times. Not that the strip was static, but you didn’t see amazing advances in technology being welcomed into the strip and the characters adapting, at least as much as I remember it. The kids are never just in their houses talking over an internet connection. They don’t speak on cell phones. They go outside and play baseball and sit on steps and lean on walls of nondescript suburban areas.
Yet one area in my writings I want to hit on is always religion and that is how Charles Schulz handled it. It is actually a great compliment to something that you can make a joke about it. Our society loves sex and politics and many of our jokes are about those topics. That we joke about religion can be seen as the way we treat religion.
Schulz always had fun with Christianity in the strip, but at the same time, he was always respectful of it, being a Christian himself. (Those who disagree with him are invited to read A Charlie Brown Religion, which I have reviewed as well) Religion is seen as a sort of given in the world of Peanuts. This is especially so with Linus, the walking biblical scholar who also gets a bit confused at times, seeing as he has a Santa Claus figure in the Great Pumpkin.
Yet after reading these articles on Peanuts, I return to the strip thinking about it in new light. I someday hope to get the complete collection of Peanuts and be able to read through every strip there is. Either way, Charles Schulz gave us a national treasure. I think all cartoonists today who write strips owe a debt to him.