It's difficult to review "The Chocolate War" because so much has already been said about it. The painful story of one boy's steadfast refusal to sell chocolates for his high school, and the consequences he faces for such a decision is as brilliant and difficult to read as ever. This isn't to say that the book is difficult to read stylistically. Instead, it's a well written tour de force that slyly invites the reader to know more about the characters, even as the situations described grow worse and worse.Cormier is to be commended for creating one of the world's first young adult psychological thrillers. Though the end of the book does disintegrate into needless violence, most of this story concerns mental anguishes and locked horns as characters vie for superiority over their fellows without fisticuffs. There's some interest in figuring out who the book's protagonist is too. Our sympathies lie, of course, with poor Jerry Renault. Here's the single man poised to challenge the... read more
A Vividly Descriptive Novel
By Ed Cheung - May 5, 2000
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, brings you into the life of a young teenager named Jerry Renault. This book not only shows a reader the world of teenage boys; it puts the reader in the shoes of the three main characters. Cormier brings them to life by realistically describing the character's feelings. The unique writing style of Cormier allows readers to truly understand the feelings of each and every character. "I'm getting tired of selling this crap. The kid's probably go the right idea." Trinity, the school where The Chocolate War takes plce, is running its annual ritual of selling chocolates to raise money. Selling the chocolates is supposedly voluntary, but Brother Leon, the assistant head of the school has some other things up his sleeves. When Jerry Renault, a meek freshman of Trinity, and the new kid in school, decides not to sell the chocolates, Brother Leon becomes desperate because he can't get Jerry to sell chocolates. Jerry's defiance is... read more
cruelty and conformity share this bleak novel
By twilliam - January 12, 2000
I feel I need to defend this novel, especially after the plethora of negative reviews.Often in childrens/YA novels good v. evil is played out in fantasy terms, (witches, demons, etc.) but this novel disturbs the universe and places real people in real situations. A freshman at a private high school decides to "disturb the universe", and soon realizes that he may have overstepped his bounds. The shifting narrative is very distinct and unique, yet sometimes confusing. This is a great novel for classroom discussion with some strong themes: to include, courage & cowardice, peer pressure, victimization, individualism, good v. evil and god and religion. The ending is unconventional and truely climatic, can you remember when you first realized that life is not fair, and sometimes doesn't come close to being fair? This book opened up the new genre of YA literature, and Cormier certainly "disturbed the universe" with its publication. This book is... read more
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