And Then I Read: THE COMPLETE PEANUTS 1981-82

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There’s nothing better than sitting down to read one of these collections, and this one is just as good as the previous ones as far as the writing and humor and human insight. For the first time in this collection I’m beginning to notice the occasional shaky lines that characterize Schulz’s later work on the strip, and a few times the drawing seemed to go rather badly for a strip or two. Schulz was around 59-60 when doing these, and I can certainly sympathize with the days when the pen doesn’t go where you want it. Most of these strips look fine, it’s just now and then, but I expect the trend will develop further in later collections.

Doesn’t matter, the material is still great in every way. The backbone of the strip is the continuing exploration of the personalities, worries, annoyances, and occasionally joys of the main characters, from Charlie Brown and his baseball team to Peppermint Patty and her trouble with school. From Lucy’s crabbiness to Sally’s smug sureness she’s right about most things when she isn’t. And of course, Snoopy seems to have the most fun, he’s the clown and the show-off of the strip. One moment in this collection seemed to veer suddenly into a serious emotional confession by Peppermint Patty’s friend Marcy, but after a few days it was left behind, perhaps never to be brought up again. Just as well, it would have changed the strip, I think. Perhaps Schulz recognized that as well.

Of course there are a few serious, sentimental and even sad moments here and there, but the overall experience of reading Peanuts is uplifting, smile-inducing, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. Well worth every cent and highly recommended.

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