David Michaelis’ recent biography of Charles Schulz, Shulz and Peanuts brings up an interesting concept. Is a biography about the subject or the biographer?
Michaelis contacted the Schulz family in 2000 to see if they would be open to Michaelis writing a biography of Charles Schulz. The family opened up their hearts and records to him and in return, according to the family Michaelis wrongly portrayed Schulz as a depressed and bitter womanizer.
Some of the family who commented felt deceived and disappointed. Jean Schulz, Shulz's second wife, was a temperate in her comments. She found the book was not a “full portrait” because “Sparky” was full of laughter but she recognized that "Happiness is not funny.” Interestingly, Schulz said that the biographer was “writing this for himself” and that "[h]e's got to be satisfied.–Ã‚
Which begs the question: What is the purpose of the biography?