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The Chocolate War Paperback – September 14, 2004
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"The characterizations of all the boys are superb... This novel [is] unique in its uncompromising portrait of human cruelty and conformity."-School Library Journal, starred review
"The novel is cleverly written with a good sense of the realistic and a good ear for dialouge, qualities which will attract any reader."-Bestsellers
"Robert Cormier has written a brilliant novel."-Children's Book Revie Service
Top Customer Reviews
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 universe around him. Then there's Archie Costello. Leader of the school's secret society and an interesting portrait of someone both evil and amazingly confident he works his hardest to bring Renault down. Both boys (men?) fight. One for what he believes is right, and the other for his own selfish desires. In the end, it is difficult to accept that the man who has ended up on top is entirely less deserving.
The book's downbeat ending, in which our hero declares that it is never wise to buck the system, has always brought the book under a certain amount of fire. Adults who read this book find themselves trying to shield it from their own kids. Which is, of course, patently ridiculous.Read more ›
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 constantly under the eye of parent groups who would like to see it "banned" or placed on a restricted list(recently under pressure from a parent's group here in VA)...because that is the case, it should be required reading for all teenagers. If you are younger, you may want to read Spinelli's WRINGER: a story so foul, so horrifying with peer pressure that it should be shelved next to Cormier's The Chocolate War.
As a children's librarian, I will continue to offer Cormier's books because he refuses to compromise the truth as he sees it.
For an indepth look at Cormier's writing try: PRESENTING ROBERT CORMIER Twayne Publishers
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked it because it had well developed characters, the plot was rich and it is teachable on many levels.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Ordered this for my son for his summer reading. It came to us in perfect condition!Published 12 days ago by Ronda Arden
Little slow in the middle but overall a good book with good themes. I wish it would have ended differently though.Published 17 days ago by SD79
This book was depressing and showed the darker side of things. Instead of showing how persistence and strength in morality can pay off, it showed the opposite. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Melinda K. Reid
I really did not like this book. I did give it a fair shot of about 50 pages, after hearing so many good things about it from various book reviewers. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nancy A
I loved this book when I read it in middle school. I had to have a copy because of one quote from the book. "Do I dare to disturb the universe? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Steven Hiller
Thought provoking! Great read, especially for high school age with good size egos!Published 2 months ago by Mary Ann Fisher
The only female characters are the dead-mother Madonna figure and collections of female body parts described in detail with no humanity. I find this inexcusable. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Virginia Dale