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The Avid Reader October 2010

THIS MONTH

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  Charlie Brown was a loser. A lovable loser, but a loser just the same. Since Peanuts first appeared in papers across America in 1950, we've watched that round-headed kid keep gamely trying to play baseball, to win the heart of the little red-haired girl, to understand his dog, and to successfully kick that football. His hope and optimism in the face of repeated failures is touching, and part of what kept us reading until the strip's demise in 2000 (the last strip ran the day after creator Charles M. Schulz died), and keep us reading the reruns now.

We love an everyman, an ordinary hero smiling at us from the comic page. In a literary world most often populated by the dramatic black and white of heroes and villains, it's refreshing to enjoy the day-to-day life of a regular, everyday loser getting on with the business of life, just like the rest of us, without x-ray vision, super strength or a secret life fighting crime. Sometimes, an average character not giving up, but getting up every day and giving it a go, no matter the odds, is the most inspiring story of all. We will always love Charlie Brown for that.

Charlie Brown and Other Literary Losers

  Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis
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